By Kayode Adeoti
The Code Of Conduct Tribunal on Tuesday adjourned the trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki till March 8 to enable the defence reply to the prosecution’s written address.
Saraki was arraigned in 2015 by the federal government for alleged false declaration of asset after he served as governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011.
The tribunal last year acquitted him on all the charges and discharged him but the Court of Appeal sustained three of the counts in the charges after an appeal by the prosecution, and referred them back to the tribunal for retrial.
At the previous hearing February 6, Saraki had closed his defence after presenting only one witness instead of the four witnesses he initially indicated he would call.
Tuesday’s hearing started with an argument between the defence counsel, Kanu Agabi, and prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, on who submitted brief late.
Mr. Agabi argued that the defence was eager for the trial to be brought to an end but that the prosecution was delaying the trial.
Both counsel were supposed to submit their written addresses on Tuesday.
According to Agabi, the prosecution counsel only sent him his written address on Monday, leaving the defence with no time to go over it and prepare its reply.
But Rotimi argued that it was the defence that was delaying the process by not filling their brief on time.
He recalled that he had asked for 14 days to submit his brief while the defence asked for seven days but that defence could not meet up within seven days.
“We filled our own written address less than the period we asked for. If anybody has made it impossible for this trial to go on, it is the defendant and not Rotimi Jacobs, (SAN),” the prosecution counsel said.
The defence counsel, Agabi responded by saying weekend days were not to be counted among the days he requested for to make his submission.
“We ask Your Lordship for time to check what he has submitted in his address,” he said to the judge, Danladi Umar.
Umar granted the request of the defence and adjourned the case to March 8.
The judge said on the adjourned date, both counsel must submit their written addresses, urging them to make the addresses brief and to be concluded on the same day to enable him set a day to deliver the judgement.