UPDATED: Appeal Court orders Saraki to face trial on three charges
Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal on Tuesday nullified the acquittal ruling of the Code of Conduct Tribunal handed down in favour of Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, in June this year.
Delivering a unanimous judgment in the appeal filed by the Federal Government against the Senate President’s acquittal, the three-man panel of the Court of Appeal headed by Justice Tinuade Akomolafe-Wilson dismissed 15 out of 18 counts filed before the CCT on the grounds of lack of evidence.
But the court ruled that Saraki, the former Governor of Kwara State, had a case to answer with respect to three of the counts numbered 4, 5, and 6.
Justice Akomolafe-Wilson who prepared and read the lead ruling, held that there was “ample” evidence led by the prosecution to warrant the Senate President to open his defence in respect of the three counts.
With the Tuesday’s judgement of the Court of Appeal, Saraki will now return to the CCT to open his defence in respect of the three counts.
“It is ordered that this case be remitted to the Code of Conduct Tribunal for the respondent (Saraki) to enter his defence,” the Court of Appeal ruled.
In Count 4, which was sustained by the Court of Appeal, Saraki was accused of making false assets declaration at the end of his tenure as Executive Governor of Kwara State in 2011 and on assumption of office as a Senator in 2011 in respect of a property at 17A McDonald, Ikoyi Lagos.
The prosecution contended that the defendant falsely declared to have acquired the property at 17A McDonald, Ikoyi, Lagos September 6, 2006 from the proceeds of sale of rice and sugar.
In Count 5, the prosecution accused Saraki of making false asset declaration at the end of his tenure as Executive Governor of Kwara State in 2011 and on assumption of office as a Senator in 2011 when he declared that he acquired No. 17B McDonald, Ikoyi Lagos on September 6, 2006 from proceeds of sale of rice and sugar.
In Count 6, the prosecution also accused Saraki of making a false declaration in his Assets Declaration Form at the end of tenure as Governor of Kwara in 2007 and on assumption of office as Executive Governor in 2007 by failing to declare his outstanding loan liabilities of N315,054,355.92 out of the loan of N380,000,000 obtained from Guaranty Trust Bank Plc.
THE IPOB: TERRORISM AND SARAKI’S RENTED SCHOLARSHIP ON CONSTITUTIONALISM
By Professor S. A. Zuru
It is a contempt on legal logic and legal reasoning the position of Dr. Saraki on the illegality of the Nigerian Army’s declaration on IPOB and most unfortunate that, despite his credentials and pedigree, he could with, reckless abandon, display this degree of poverty of knowledge on the subject matter. I am pained to have to educate your bandwagon of buy-one-and-get-one-for-free legislators on the jurisprudence of terrorism.
According to Dr. Tarik Ali in his book ” the clash of fundamentalism” a terrorist is a terror merchant and a crusader of ideology of hate whose belief structure negates all entries of rational reasoning and sanctity of the society and human life, he went further to argue that such individual or groups are enemies of the state because they do not recognize the authority of the state and still went further to say that, such groups must not be allowed to exploit the benefits of progress of modern civilization because as a terrorist all he or they know is to undermine progress and destroy civilization”.
In a similar thesis on this issue, Dr. Christopher Huchinghson (another revered scholar of international terrorism, while reviewing the case of Timothy Mackvey, the Oklahoma terror bomber in his book “Regime Change” had this to say, ” Terrorism has lost the inherent accommodation of human conscience and common humanity and a terrorist is a person or groups whose ideology is anchored on hate, revenge, ethnic profiling, cleansing and destructive violence. Dr. Christopher argued further that, every terror cell and group represents a monumental existential threat to continuation of the human family and the concept of modern nation States and therefore every nation state has both moral and legal obligation as a member of organised international community to degrade, disrupt and destroy every vintages of terrorism.
However, it is obvious from your pre-emptive outburst that your pedestrian scholarship on the issue has denied you the benefits of sound educated judgement. The reality is that, in the case of hyper security emergencies, no nation has the luxury of politically correct niceties of legal synonyms and nomenclature. It is an exercise in futility the grand design to deploy the inconsequential legal technicalities inoder to undermine the power of the State and its resolve to destroy home grown terrorism. Without prejudice to your addictive naiveties, permit me to ask this question, if the military, after a clinical prognosis of the characteristics of a threat, can not define it accordingly in order to enable the country to develop a counter strategy to confront it, then who would?
I insist that your buy-one-get-one-for-free legislature with all it’s attendant burden of integrity is not, by every figment of imagination, in a position to do it.
When George W Bush Jr made his famous ” either you are with us or with them” speech at ground zero during the Sept 11 describing and indicting alqa’ida as a terrorist organization, he didn’t consult the US Senate, similarly, when Cameron, the British Prime Minister, in the wake of July 7 attack, described it as terrorism after the Metropolitan Police had done that, he didn’t seek clearance of the British Parliament to do that. Additionally, as a leader of a vital organ of the Government, you must understand that you can’t be in between an electric switch, is either you’re on or you’re off.
Finally, on the ruse and power of words, I would refer you to President Barack Obama’s campaign speech “just words”, lest I forget, the legendary Muhammad Ali had this additional advice for you “a man at 40 who still sees the world exactly the way he did at 20, has wasted 20 years of his life “
Dr BukolaSaraki the Senator representing Kwara Central Senatorial District who emerged in a most dubious way as Senate President on June 9, 2015 in an election that had only 47 Senators in attendance has declared as unconstitutional and illegal the categorization of the IPOB led by Nnamdi Kanu as a terrorist organization.
He personally signed a statement on Monday September 18 in which he said that the National Assembly or more precisely the Senate he presides will investigate the matter.
“I wish to state that the announcement of the proscription of the group known as Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by Governors of the southeast states and the categorization of the group as a terrorist organization by the Nigerian military are unconstitutional and does not follow due process”, he wrote.
What was latent to some is now apparent to all. And no one is to be blamed except President Buhari himself.
Many questions are begging for answers here. Is Bukola Saraki not part of this government? Doesn’t he have access to the President? So what does he want to achieve by issuing a public statement contradicting the government’s position of trying to maintain law and order? Is it the Senate that is empowered to declare an action unconstitutional?
In any case, at this material time when preserving peace and peaceful coexistence is the main issue, what does Bukola want to achieve with this clearly unhelpful statement?
Since occupying this seat, by hook and crook, Bukola Saraki is acting like a co-president of Nigeria. He has forgotten the fact that he was elected by a fraction of Kwara state and is just one among his 108 other colleagues while the President of Nigeria was elected by the entire nation.
For instance, when Donald Trump was elected President of the US last year, President Buhari rightly congratulated him on behalf of Nigeria. Bukola Saraki then sent a separate congratulatory letter to Trump even pledging to “work with him”! Can you beat that? Is Bukola aware of who he is and what his limitations are? I don’t think so. This joke is really getting too far it seems.
It reminds me of what happened in the Republic of Sudan when General Hassan Al-Bashir came to power as President and Dr Hassan Al-Turabi became the Speaker of the Sudan Parliament.
Al-Turabi used the parliament to start chipping away the powers of the president gradually and subtly.
Before long Al-Bashir found that he was just a president in name as all his powers were taken away by Al-Turabi. Al-Bashir had to quickly stamp his feet and re-assert presidential power. Saraki is lifting straight from Al-Turabi’s playbook.
He should be reminded that it is the constitutional duty of the Armed Forces to help in maintaining law and order in aid of civil authority. The patriotic armed forces of Nigeria are currently undertaking these operations in almost all the 36 states of the federation such as Operation Lafiya Dole; Operation Delta Safe; Operation Harbin Kunama; Operation Iron Fence among others.
No one has ever said all these operations are illegal as everyone knows the government is doing these in discharging its primary responsibility of protecting life and property of the people.
The armed forces declared the IPOB a terrorist organization because they know them as they are directly engaged with them.
The state governors in the five south-eastern states who bear the brunt of the IPOB activities courageously and correctly proscribed the organization just like Governor El-Rufai of Kaduna proscribed the Shia movement. Everywhere in the world it is the executive arm of government that proscribes dangerous organizations. It is nothing new so what is Bukola talking about?
The Senate is on recess in any case. Does it mean government should fold its arms and wait for Bukola’s Senate to debate such serious threat to National Security before it takes action?
Does Bukola know that he represents only 1/3 of Kwara state and that any Senator can be Senate President and so cannot compare himself with Nigeria’s president? Is he aware that even if the National Assembly has a role in this when it is on recess the President can take action to arrest the decent to chaos?
In any case, is peace not more important than Bukola’s legality? Does Bukola know more about the situation than the Federal and all the affected state governments who are on the same page on this?
Even for confirmation of appointments, in the US where we copy the presidential system they have what is called recess appointments so that the President can directly appoint people during recess which George Bush did when John Bolton was rejected as ambassadorial nominee and Bolton was appointed during recess and remained US ambassador to UN for the Bush years despite his rejection by the US Senate.
Bukola should know that there is no co-president in the Nigerian constitution and there can’t be two or multiple centres of power. It is simply impossible.
Bukola may give the PDP opposition party the Deputy Senate President and get away with it. He may even pocket the ruling party leadership as it appears now with his filthy riches and go scot free. He may pocket all the Senators, the distinguished and the disgraceful, and get away with it. But he cannot control or direct the Armed Forces of Nigeria, disgrace them publicly for doing their constitutional duty to the nation because there is only one Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces who is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The constitution does not even have provision for a deputy C-in-C. Bukola should know that even Senate resolutions are merely advisory and cannot use that to hold the country to ransom as he threatened to do recently with regards to confirmations of presidential nominees.
He has so far occupied the leadership of the Nigerian Senate in a most unconventional and clearly illegal manner for over two years now. Like everything he has touched –Societe General Bank, which is now defunct; Kwara State government which is now paying his debts, the Senate of Nigeria is a shame and a disgrace to the nation since its last leadership left thanks to the vaulting ambition of this one man. In due course this page will address that ambition and put it in its proper context. But what is happening now is what the Hausa say: “the meat is pulling the dog”. History is on the side of the oppressed.
Pendulum By Dele Momodu; email@example.com Fellow Nigerians, unbeknown to many of our people, the battle for who becomes our next President has already started in earnest. Never mind the fact that the incumbent President is still firmly in power even if he’s spent more time outside than inside in recent times. Despite his absence, President Muhammadu Buhari continues to exert almost total control on the affairs of state through regular phone chats with the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who is deeply loyal and committed to their joint cause, and emissaries who criss-cross the two continents to transmit messages to him and relevant officials. Nonetheless, you can’t blame the gladiators for shaping up this early for the big contest that is looming. It is big because it is unlikely that the current incumbent President will run again because of the fragile state of his health. Like joke, like joke, the Buhari/Osinbajo government is in its third year. By this time next year, the general elections would just be about six months away. That’s just too close for comfort. The Presidential race is always the biggest deal in most countries, Nigeria in particular. The reason is simple. The President of Nigeria is probably the most powerful black President in the world. This is why you find so many perpetual contestants who never get tired of seeking power. Let me just go straight to the meat of my message without wasting your precious time on any long preamble. Some aspirants have actually started making subterranean moves, here and there, to prepare the grounds for their eventual launch. The most obvious ones include former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and former Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano. The boldest and most vocal visible aspirant is the current Governor of Ekiti State, Peter Fayose who has even announced a date for the official declaration of his bid for the Presidency. Fayose seems to have mastered the art and science of politics. He has warned that no one should underrate him. I won’t because nothing is impossible in our clime. Anyway. Let’s move on. The main cause of the early moves is the general belief in political circles that President Buhari is not likely to contest in 2019. His poor health has virtually eliminated him from the race no matter how much and how well he recovers from his present ailment. I think so too. Baba himself had declared in one of his rare interviews that he’s never been this sick in his life. Only the cruellest human being would advise President Buhari to continue to subject himself to the rigours of the Presidential office when he returns. To add the vagaries of rough and tumble of a Presidential race to his recuperation would be inhuman indeed. God has been very kind to him and there is nothing more to prove or to achieve. Others must carry on the fight as his able Vice President, now Acting President has been doing. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar had shown interest in becoming Nigeria’s President since 1993 when he contested the Presidential primaries of the then Social Democratic Party alongside Chief Moshood Abiola and Baba Ghana Kingibe. He was persuaded to withdraw from the contest and throw his weight behind Chief Abiola on the basis of his relative youth amongst other things. Age, it was said, was on his side, and he had many years to seek the Presidency. Since then, he has never stopped dreaming and aspiring. Unfortunately, he has always just fallen short! He had made his next move in 2003, after he served as Vice President to President Olusegun Obasanjo from 1999. The “abortive coup” (as it was described), to force Obasanjo out and bring Atiku in, by the all-powerful Governors of the time failed spectacularly. The cold war between Atiku and his boss exploded into full view and became a smouldering inferno. Atiku instantly became a marked man. He himself would be forced out of the party he helped to found and had to join others to form another party. But before too long Atiku was compelled by circumstances to scamper back to PDP. Not many felt that was a smart move. He was viewed as being too desperate and unprincipled. This flip-flop has been his major albatross. And he was not yet done! Atiku again jumped ship from the floundering PDP when some five Governors defected and joined the fulcrum of APC. There are already indications that he may be compelled to abandon ship again but where to, we don’t know. Some say that he is grooming PDM for this purpose and has already caused a crisis in his former movement. There is no doubt that Atiku would make a good leader. He is a seasoned politician who is known to have the ability to unite Nigerians because of his extensive networks across the nation. He also has the penchant for recruiting the best brains to work with. If he becomes the President, he would be bringing in his wealth of experience in public service and private business that is almost second to none. But there are major setbacks against him. One is how to find the detergent to cleanse or unglue himself from the sticky mud his former boss President Obasanjo had generously splashed on him. He’s largely portrayed as a very corrupt and corruptible leader who may lead Nigerians into temptation and perdition with his acolytes. Whether this is a fair assessment or wicked blackmail is his business to deal with but it won’t be so easy to wish or wash away. Atiku will find it difficult to clinch the APC ticket. There are obvious signs that he has already positioned some of his close associates in PDP, in case of emergency but he may be scammed at the end of the day if he takes the risk of pulling out of his present party. He needs to worry about his age. He has already crossed 70 and it is doubtful if most Nigerians want to be saddled with another old man who may collapse under the brutal weight of presidential stress and pressure. He would require more of a clean bill of health to persuade young Nigerians that he’s not carrying some health liabilities like others in the past. In summary, we have a reasonable bridge-builder and veteran administrator who may be too old and too late in seeking political office. Next is the former Governor of Kano State, Senator Mohammed Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, a man with very vast political and administrative pedigree. He has gone through the whole gamut of governance at both executive and legislative levels. His performance as Governor of the massive state of Kano is an eloquent testimony to the fact that he may be the one to ignite the infrastructural revolution in Nigeria. He cuts the image of a frugal Aminu Kano with his simple mien. His grassroots non-governmental movement known as Kwankwasiyya Pillars of the Nation is well mobilised and may give him an edge over most aspirants. He also has in his favour the fact that Kano State has the highest number of registered voters and may be able to count on garnering a significant number of these. He is also expected to draw strength from his former colleagues in the Governors’ Forum across the nation but no one is sure how relevant they still are. Kwankwaso is 60 years old and falls the under the age of 65 that many want as the upper limit for contestants. On the negative side, he is not likely to have the formidable war chest of an Atiku Abubakar though this did not stop him from beating Atiku to third place in their last APC Primaries. Say what you will, the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, must be factored into the equation by all means. The reason is that he seems to enjoy a special rapport with his ailing boss who may prefer to hand over fully to someone he knows well than risk certainty for uncertainty. Osinbajo has been a very loyal and dependable ally, the sort that are not common in this clime. This is no surprise because his vocation as a lawyer, his service as a teacher and his calling as a Pastor makes him imbued with integrity and dignity. Osinbajo has also succeeded in bringing Nigerians together and calming frayed nerves. His handling of the economy, security and national awareness is quite commendable and many Nigeria’s applaud his brilliance and performance in steering the affairs of state to its present comfortable position. His only worry would come from ethnic jingoists who do not care about merit but prefer only members of their tribe no matter how useless or incompetent they may be. Osinbajo is likely to be vehemently opposed by such powerful forces who think only about themselves, although it seems to me that the people of the North are not with them on this occasion. There is no question that Osinbajo has restored hope and promise to Nigeria and should ordinarily be allowed to stabilise the polity and lead us out of the doldrums. The fact that he lacks his own political platforms may be a great disadvantage because he would need to lean on his political godfather and kingmaker, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who seems tired of fixing others into positions of power without being the ultimate King of Kings himself. However, Asiwaju is canny and wise and would prefer to be in the hallowed corridors of power with his protégé in charge than be outside it particularly given that he is himself ageing and would be over a couple of years over 65 by the time of the next elections. There has always been speculation that the Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, is interested in being President. He is eminently qualified to do so. The way he has managed the Senate and worked assiduously on churning out unprecedented number of very efficacious bills is a pointer to his effectiveness as a modern and cosmopolitan leader who understands what the people want and how to give it to them. His biggest migraine apart from allegations of corruption and mismanagement of Societe Generale Bank which has seemingly not gone away, is that he comes from Kwara State. The State is geographically Northern but culturally Southern. His father was Olusola. He is Bukola. His wife is Toyin. His sister is Gbemisola. His Brother is Olaolu. His son is Olaseni. No one could be more Yoruba than Saraki. However, surprisingly, despite this great Yoruba credentials, the Yorubas do not also apparently view him as a Yoruba man but as a Northerner. I do not know how he plans to overcome that challenge of being neither cat nor rat. The Governor of Sokoto State, Waziri Aminu Tambuwal, attempted very briefly to run the Presidential race in 2015 but seemed to have chickened out and pulled back to settle for the gubernatorial race, where he eventually emerged successful. It is being mentioned in informed circles that he may still want to try his luck. As a former Speaker of the House of representatives and now Governor, he comes with some intimidating arsenal as e is still clearly well loved by his old constituency, the Federal legislators. It is not certain if he would abandon his almost guaranteed second term as Governor for a not so certain Presidential bid. His antecedents in this regard would persuade me not to expect too much of a change in Tambuwal’s circumstances this time around. The same goes for one of my favourite leaders, Mallam Nasir El Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna State, one of the most cerebral, experienced and visionary leaders in Nigeria today. He is silently revolutionising Kaduna State although people see more of the controversial stuff coming out of that State because of its highly volatile religious mix of Muslims and Christians. Though he is yet to declare his interest openly, he is someone to watch…
Office of the Senate President on Thursday said the sacking of aides to Senator Bukola Saraki is for efficiency .
It said the exercise was to reposition the office for efficient service delivery .
The office , which refused to confirm the number of those affected , explained that most of the officials affected were those posted from the National Assembly Service Commission , who were deployed back to the service .
Sources in the Senate , however , put the number at 98 . A source in the Senate , who spoke on condition of anonymity , said most of the affected officials were inherited by Saraki, including the Director of Protocol , Arthur Ndiwe , who had occupied the office since Senator Ken Nnamani was the Senate President .
It was further gathered that those affected were issued sack letters through the Chief of Staff to the President of the Senate, Hakeem Baba- Ahmed , in batches .
The Special Adviser to the President of the Senate on Media and Publicity , Mr . Yusuph Olaniyonu , while briefing journalists on the development on Thursday , said the downsizing was based on Saraki’ s discretion based on the judgment of a review committee.
Olaniyonu explained that the “ staff review ” was the outcome of an assessment exercise which started four months ago . He said , “ It is entirely his (Saraki’ s ) discretion to determine who works with him , those who are helping his agenda , and those areas where gaps need to be filled.
This is important for the efficiency of the office . “ It is not a negative thing ; it is to ensure that the office is more invigorated and better positioned. It is possible some new people may also be joining in areas lapses have been observed .
“ It is good for a public official like the Senate President to have given everybody the opportunity to serve. The last 26 months were good enough to determine who would fit into his agenda for the next 22 months of the lifespan of this Senate. ”
Olaniyonu further said the members of staff were in three categories : those who were considered fit to remain in office , those who needed to be removed , and the fresh hands needed to be brought in .
He added , “ The restructuring that has just taken place on the workforce in the Office of the Senate President being reported as mass sacking in the media was meant to reposition the office for service delivery , the outcome of which has affected three categories of members of staff in different ways.
“ The first category of workers are those that have been found capable and competent to continue with their job , like all the entire members of the media unit .
“ The second category of workers are those earlier seconded from the National Assembly bureaucracy to serve in the Office of the Senate President but now directed to go back to their civil service job , like the Head of Administration , Mrs. Folashade Adigun .
“ The third category of workers are those whose services within the last two years were not all that satisfactory in the eye of the committee set up by the Senate President to carry out the repositioning exercise of his office . ” Olaniyonu, however , did not provide details on the number of those affected in each category .
He also dismissed the reports that the exercise was meant to cut cost, insisting that it was for efficient service delivery . Saraki had in December 2016 directed the National Assembly management to carry out a “ comprehensive human resource audit. ”
His former Chief of Staff , Senator Isa Galaudu , who later resigned his appointment , had in a letter to the Clerk to the National Assembly , Mohammed Sani – Omolori , said the measure was aimed at “ verifying the skills , efficiency and motivation of the employees of the National Assembly. ”
“ The President of the Senate expects the assessment to be completed within 90 days and progress reports be submitted regularly until completion , ” it partly read . The letter was dated December 16 , 2016 , and titled, ‘ Carrying out a Comprehensive Human Resource Audit in the National Assembly. ’
The PUNCH had reported in January 2017 that about 100 aides to Saraki were facing job loss. It was reported that Saraki had set new terms and conditions for retaining their jobs, with their retention based on their performance in their respective offices.
CCT acquittal: I’ll win again at appeal court, says Saraki
Leke Baiyewu , Abuja
President of the Senate , Bukola Saraki, said on Friday that he remained unperturbed over the decision of the Federal Government to appeal against the judgment of the Code of Conduct Tribunal , which acquitted him of false and anticipatory declaration of assets when he was governor of Kwara State .
“ This appeal against the CCT ruling is nothing but another attempt to grandstand and embark on another media trial without any substance .
“ This is why the Senate President is sure it will be another exercise in futility , ” a statement on Friday by the Special Adviser to Senate President on Media and Publicity , Mr . Yusuph Olaniyonu, said .
The CCT had, on June 15 , 2017 , discharged and acquitted Saraki of all 18 charges preferred against him .
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr . Abubakar Malami, through a private prosecuting counsel, Mr . Rotimi Jacobs ( SAN ) , and a lawyer in the AGF’ s office had, on Tuesday , filed 11 -ground notice of appeal against the acquittal , describing the CCT’ s judgment as “ unreasonable . ”
In the statement , Saraki said he was confident that the verdict by the appellate court would not be different from that of the Tribunal , as the facts of the case remained the same and the grounds on which the decision of the CCT was based remain unassailable.
The Senate President also alleged that there were forces in the President Muhammadu Buhari – led administration and collaborators outside the government who were bent on “ pulling him down . ”
The statement read in part, “ Anybody who has been following the proceedings and the evidence given by the prosecution witnesses during examination- in – chief and cross -examination should know that if presented before any court of justice and law , the same outcome as in the CCT would be arrived at .
“ Those who are running commentary on the ruling by the tribunal and criticising it are those who are not even familiar with the case and the details coming out of the trial . That is why Dr . Saraki continues to wonder how desperate some people in government and their collaborators outside have become to pull him down at all costs and by all means up to the point that they do not care if they destroy the institution of the judiciary in the process .
“ That is why they sponsored stories of allegation of bribery in an online publication against the tribunal judges.
“ The Senate President seizes this opportunity to call on security agencies to immediately commence investigation on this bribery allegation . It is his views that those who made the allegation should be invited to substantiate their claims .
“ This same desperation made a man like Prof . Itse Sagay , the Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Anti -Corruption , to appear on tape , admitting in a foreign country that he interfered with the process in the Tribunal when , in an unethical manner, he was instructing the judge on how to conduct the trial .
“ Corruption is not just about giving or diverting money; when an official interferes with the judicial process with a view to achieving personal objectives , it is corruption .
“ The Senate President notes that another sign of desperation by those who want to get him convicted at all costs was the failed antics of the prosecution counsel, Mr . Rotimi Jacobs ( SAN ) who , in collusion with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission , sought to manipulate evidence at the tribunal.
“ On realising the fundamental flaw in its case — as it did not invite the defendant to make any statement at any point in the investigation — the prosecution brought in an agent of the EFCC to tender old statements Saraki made in a totally different and unrelated matter that had nothing to do with false assets declaration . ”
Saraki stressed that the prosecution forgot that the letter inviting Saraki to make the tendered statements explicitly mentioned the matter being investigated and there were documents to prove this .
“ The prosecution tried to circumvent the judicial process by ensuring that the witness did not enter into the witness box so as not to be on oath .
“ However , the tribunal, as it is obvious in its ruling , saw through the dirty trick . It, therefore , disregarded that piece of evidence and described it as irrelevant and of no value to the case , ” he said .
The Senate President added , “ If not desperation by the prosecution, why is the EFCC so involved in a case of false assets declaration which is an exclusive preserve of the Code of Conduct Bureau ? All the evidence presented during the trial were from the EFCC .
“ The commission rendered the CCB a second fiddle player. That is why the only CCB witness presented by the prosecution gave what the tribunal referred to as ‘ hearsay evidence’ . The CCB chief prosecutor testified that he got his instruction to investigate the case orally . He made his report from the investigation orally . Even the directive to ‘ collaborate with EFCC ’ on the investigation was given orally , a development the tribunal found strange and unknown to law .
“ All these antics aimed at perverting the course of justice were obvious throughout the period of the tribunal’ s sitting . Though, one is conscious of the fact that the anti – graft agency and its allied bodies are frantically looking for a poster – case to sell its anti -corruption campaign and there is the hunger for conviction in a celebrated case to advertise in the international arena government ’ s determination to pursue the anti – graft campaign , we implore them to achieve this aim by allowing justice to take its normal course . ”
Saraki in fresh trouble as FG files 11 counts appeal challenging his CCT’s acquittal
The Federal Government has appealed a court ruling that acquitted the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, of charges of corruption and false declaration of assets.
The Court of Conduct Tribunal last week cleared the Senate President of 13-count charge of corruption levelled against him.
The government yesterday at the Court of Appeal Abuja filed eleven grounds of appeal challenging the judgment of the CCT.
The notice of appeal was signed by Rotimi Jacobs SAN and Pius Akutah, an assistant Chief State Counsel.
The government is seeking an order setting aside the CCT judgment of June 14 that upheld the no case submission filed by Saraki at the close of the prosecution’s case.
The FG also prayed the Court of Appeal for an order calling upon Saraki to enter his defence.
The CCT on Wednesday last week cleared Saraki of the 18 count criminal charges over alleged false asset declaration brought against him.
Danladi Umar, the tribunal chairman said the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against Mr. Saraki.
He therefore upheld the no-case submission made by the defendant’s counsel, Kanu Agabi.
In the notice of appeal which was filed yesterday, the government said the judgment was unconstitutional, without jurisdiction, unwarranted, unreasonable and against the weight of evidence.
It argued that the Tribunal failed to analyse and evaluate the evidence of the prosecution witnesses before reaching its no case submission.
The government held that the CCT failed to point out any apparent discredited evidence on the face of the record before upholding the no case submission.
According to the government, the power of the CCT when upholding a no case submission is to discharge Saraki and not to acquit him.
It said the findings of the CCT that EFCC did not invite Saraki was not supported by the evidence tendered by the prosecution which was Saraki’s handwritten statement made after caution.
It said the CCT failed to be bound by the judicial precedent of a superior court of record and has denied the government its right to fair hearing as guaranteed by the Constitution.
It was further stated that the CCT unfairly closed its eye to relevant testimony of prosecution witness and the various documents generated by the Guaranty Trust Bank which were admitted as evidence before the Court.