The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on Friday issued a bench warrant against the Senate President Bukola Saraki.
The tribunal, presided over by its chairman, Justice Danladi Umar, ordered the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase, to arrest Saraki and present him before the tribunal on Monday.
The order was issued at the opening of the trial of Saraki over allegation of corruption and false declaration of assets.
The Tribunal had summoned Saraki to appear before it, but he obtained a Federal High Court injunction stopping the summons and his trial.
When the case was called before the tribunal, Saraki was not present in court.
Justice Umar held: “Having received the tribunal’s summons, the Senate president has no reason not to appear before this tribunal to take his plea.
“The absence of an Attorney-General of the Federation does not stop the Solicitor-General or any other official of the Justice Ministry from prosecuting cases involving government officials.
“Also, the defendant, being a high ranking government official has no reason not to appear in this tribunal, having been duly served with a summon and there is proof of service,’’ he said.
Earlier, the prosecution counsel, Mr Muslim Hassan, had asked the tribunal to issue a bench warrant against Saraki over his failure to appear before the tribunal.
Hassan faulted the Federal High Court for granting an ex-parte motion halting Saraki’s arraignment.
He argued that the Federal High Court has coordinate jurisdiction with the tribunal and as such has no powers to halt trial of the tribunal.
The lead defence counsel, Mr Joseph Daudu, SAN, however, prayed the tribunal to adjourn the case until the Federal High Court sitting on Monday.
Daudu urged the tribunal to disregard the application for a bench warrant, vowing to ensure that Saraki appears in the tribunal on the adjourned date. (NAN)