The Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar, on Tuesday warned the lawyers representing the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, against deploying tactics aimed at delaying the ongoing trial.
Saraki is being prosecuted by the Federal Government on 16 counts, including false and anticipatory asset declaration, which he allegedly made between 2003 and 2011 when he served as the Governor of Kwara State.
He is also accused of operating foreign accounts as a public officer and of receiving governor’s salary or emoluments in addition to his salary as a senator for some periods after completing his two terms as governor and got elected as a senator.
The first prosecution witness, Mr. Michael Wetkas, returned to the witness box for the 11th day of cross-examination by the defence on Tuesday.
However, before the cross-examination commenced, prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), accused the defence of deliberately delaying the case.
In his response, the tribunal chairman said he had taken note of the delay tactics being deployed by Saraki’s lawyers.
Umar warned that the tactics would not in any way affect the outcome of the trial.
“I am not happy at the delay tactics by the defence counsel and I must say this thing out that this delay tactics will not reduce the consequences the defendant will meet in this tribunal at the end of the trial,” the tribunal chairman said.
However the lead counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), who was obviously shocked by the tribunal chairman’s comment, asked Umar what he meant by the “consequences” awaiting his client in the tribunal.
Agabi told the tribunal chairman that he and his client were worried over “prejudices”.
He advised the tribunal against influence from “enemies”, adding that the defence team was standing against “prejudices”.
Kanu said, “From the defence side, we are not worried about the law and facts that will be placed before this tribunal by the prosecution.
“But we are worried about enemies who may wish to use this tribunal to achieve their ulterior motive.
“As the tribunal chairman, we love you, we respect you, but we are afraid of consequences, especially as just stated by this tribunal this morning.
“Our fears have been reinforced, but we pray against consequences that are against natural justice.”
The tribunal chairman then assured that no party would be prejudiced in the case.