CSNAC Frowns At Continuous Adjournments Of Saraki’s Trial At CCT

Published:5 Dec, 2016

The Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), which is a coalition of over 150 anti-corruption organizations, has urged the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), to speed up its adjudication process in the ongoing trial of the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki.

In a petition sent to the Tribunal’s chairman and signed by the coalition’s chairman, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, CSNAC said frivolous adjournment in criminal trial is a violation of the provisions of the law, urging the Tribunal to ensure that the  matter is speedily completed.

Taking its cue from the November 8, 2016, report of The Cable, an online Newspaper, where it was reported that at the resumption of trial of the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the tribunal Chairman Mr. Danladi Umar adjourned the trial to January 11, 2017 after sitting for about thirty minutes.

CSNAC said, “You  were reported to have announced the adjournment after allowing Paul Usoro SAN counsel to Mr. Saraki cross – examine Mr. Michael Wetkas, a detective of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).  The report said you further stated that you had more important things to attend to.

“In a bid to hasten the dispensation of justice through speedily bringing criminals to book thereby checkmating the rise of crime in the society, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act was enacted in May 2015 to provide the much needed change to the administration of criminal justice in Nigeria. In view of this, the Act provides for the day to day trial of criminal matters. In section 396, it provides as follows:

“(3) Upon arraignment, the trial of the Defendant shall proceed from day to day until the conclusion of the trial.

“Though the Act provides for short adjournment intervals where necessary, it also stipulates that the court may award reasonable costs in order to discourage frivolous adjournments. Furthermore, in order to achieve its aim of speedy dispensation of justice, the Act also completely bans any application for stay of proceedings in respect of criminal matters.”

The coalition stated further that, “From the foregoing, it is evident that a new dawn has begun in the administration of criminal justice in Nigeria.

“The trial of the Senate President before the Code of Conduct Tribunal is a criminal matter which is subject to the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015. In view of this, the unwarranted adjournment of the matter by the tribunal chairman without recourse to the provisions of the Act ought to be challenged, in view of the fact that the Act also provides that where day-to-day trial is impracticable, the interval between adjournments shall not exceed 14 working days.

“It is obvious that the duration from the last date of hearing till January is a violation of this Act and will only serve to defeat the purpose of speedy adjudication of criminal matters which the Act seeks to achieve, and which is the norm in well-developed societies across the world.”

Making its submission, CSNAC said it is therefore by the petition requesting that, “Your office take note of this unlawful Act, take measures to correct this violation and uphold provisions of the law.

“The tribunal and all Courts must desist from frivolously adjournment in criminal trial and ensure that such matters are speedily completed. By so doing, you will be discharging the duties of your office effectively, as well as ensuring that corruption is stamped out of Nigeria one step at a time.”

Read the petition below:

30th November, 2016
The Chairman
Code of Conduct Tribunal,
Federal Secretariat Complex,
Shehu Shagari Way,
Maitama, Abuja.

Dear Sir,
REQUEST FOR THE CODE OF CONDUCT TRIBUNAL TO STOP FRIVOLOUS ADJOURNMENTS IN THE TRIAL OF SENATOR BUKOLA SARAKI

Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) is a coalition of over hundred and fifty Anti-corruption organizations whose primary aim is to constructively combat corruption vigorously and to ensure the effective monitoring of the various Anti-graft agencies in the fight against corruption and contribute towards the enthronement of transparency, accountability, probity and total commitment in the fight to eradicate corruption in Nigeria.

On 8th November, 2016, The Cable , an online newspaper reported that at the resumption of trial of the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the tribunal Chairman Mr. Danladi Umar adjourned the trial to January 11, 2017 after sitting for about thirty minute. You  were reported to have announced the adjournment after allowing Paul Usoro SAN counsel to Mr. Saraki cross – examine Mr. Michael Wetkas, a detective of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The report said you further stated that you had more important things to attend to.

In a bid to hasten the dispensation of justice through speedily bringing criminals to book thereby checkmating the rise of crime in the society, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act was enacted in May 2015 to provide the much needed change to the administration of criminal justice in Nigeria. In view of this, the Act provides for the day to day trial of criminal matters. In section 396, it provides as follows:

“(3) Upon arraignment, the trial of the Defendant shall proceed from day to day until the conclusion of the trial”

Though, the Act provides for short adjournment intervals where necessary, it also stipulates that the court may award reasonable costs in order to discourage frivolous adjournments. Furthermore, in order to achieve its aim of speedy dispensation of justice, the Act also completely bans any application for stay of proceedings in respect of criminal matters.

From the foregoing, it is evident that a new dawn has begun in the administration of criminal justice in Nigeria. The trial of the Senate President before the Code of Conduct Tribunal is a criminal matter which is subject to the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015. In view of this, the unwarranted adjournment of the matter by the tribunal chairman without recourse to the provisions of the Act ought to be challenged, in view of the fact that the Act also provides that where day-to-day trial is impracticable, the interval between adjournments shall not exceed 14 working days. It is obvious that the duration from the last date of hearing till January is a violation of this Act and will only serve to defeat the purpose of speedy adjudication of criminal matters which the Act seeks to achieve, and which is the norm in well-developed societies across the world.

CSNAC is therefore by this petition requesting that your office take note of this unlawful Act, take measures to correct this violation and uphold provisions of the law. The tribunal and all Courts must desist from frivolously adjournment in criminal trial and ensure that such matters are speedily completed. By so doing, you will be discharging the duties of your office effectively, as well as ensuring that corruption is stamped out of Nigeria one step at a time.

We thank you in anticipation of your appropriate and necessary action in this regards..

Yours faithfully,

Olanrewaju Suraju
Chairman.

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