CCT: The political travails of Saraki’s trial so far (Photos)


27 Jun 2016

CCT: The political travails of Saraki’s trial so far (Photos)

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Since September 22 2015, Senate president Bukola Saraki has been in and out of court rooms following his alleged false declaration of assets.

On May 29, President Muhammadu Buhari directed that all political office holders declare their assets on assumption of office.

This directive led an investigation by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) which boiled down to the collection of assets declaration form from the CCT by the Senate president, Bukola Saraki, because according to the tribunal, his assets declaration turned out to be false.

Saraki had challenged the result of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) by submitting an appeal at the Court of Appeal but on Friday, October 30, the court allowed the trial against him.

Senator Bukola Saraki as he arrived the CCT
Senator Bukola Saraki as he arrived the CCT

Saraki approached the Supreme Court on Tuesday, November 3 to formally file an appeal and also begged the court to stop the proceeding of allegation against him.

READ ALSO: Saraki’s lawyer clashes with tribunal judge over adjournment of trial

The appeal was filed by a team of the former governor’s lawyer led by Mr. J.B. Daudu (SAN) “an order staying further proceedings in charge no: CCT/ABJ/01/2015 between Federal Republic of Nigeria vs Dr. Olubukola

Abubakar Saraki fixed for hearing on November 5 and 6, 2015 pending the determination of the appeal pending before the Supreme Court against the judgment of the Court of Appeal dated October 30, 2015.”

But the Supreme Court ruled against him to stop his case at the CCT and was dismissed on Friday, February 5.

Justice Walter Samuel Onnoghen who read the judgement said that the CCT was properly constituted to exercise jurisdiction over the trial of Saraki.

However, Ahmed Mogaji, the Senate president’s counsel, resigned from defending Senator Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

Mogaji urged the tribunal to suspend further hearing on the matter pending the Supreme Court’s decision on the matter, but his argument was opposed by the prosecution, Rotimi Jacobs.

Senator Bukola Saraki
Senator Bukola Saraki

The counsel, in his reaction to the new development, resigned from his post as the defense counsel, leaving the former governor to ‘shop’ for a new legal consultant ahead of the next hearing.

However, Saraki who was charged with 13 counts of corruption was later accused of 16, on Thursday, April 27, adding three more charges. All were bordering on falsification of assets while he was the governor of Kwara state.

The first charge is failing to declare his asset at 42, Remi Fani Kayode Street, Ikeja, Lagos state, to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) on resumption of office as Kwara governor in 2003. He was said to have acquired the property in December 12, 1996 through his company, Skyview Properties Limited from First Finance trust Limited.

The second is receiving monthly salaries after leaving office as Kwara state governor, from 2011 to 2015.

The third charge is that Saraki maintained a foreign account with the American Express Service, New York which he used for transfer of huge sums abroad from the Guaranteed Trust Bank in Nigeria.

These three charges which were in addition to the 13 count charge of false asset declaration which he is already standing trial for, Saraki pleaded not guilty to the new charges just as he did to the older charges.

Paul Usoro (SAN), counsel to Saraki, had asked the tribunal not to allow the additional charges because the prosecution would need a motion to make the amendments. He also asked the court give his client a period of three weeks to adequately make arrangements for defense.

Saraki
Saraki's has the support of senators across the PDP and the APC

Saraki’s has the support of senators across the PDP and the APC

Michael Wetkas, a detective of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), who has been cross-examined for weeks claimed that Bukola Saraki, the Senate president, did not declare some of his assets at the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).

He added that Saraki acquired more than one property from a Presidential Implementation Committee on landed property, which he said was against the rule.

The CCT on Monday, April 18 admitted that 43 documents has been presented as evidence against the Senate president. Some of these documents include account statements, cheques, letters and Code of Conduct Bureau forms.

The Senate president, Bukola Saraki on Wednesday, June 15, asked the chairman of the Code of the Conduct Tribunal (CCT), to withdraw from his trial due to his case with the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

But on Thursday, April 21, Umar had thrown away the application by the Senate president asking him to withdraw from the trial. In the application, Saraki argued that the CCT chairman was biased.

Recently, the CCT adjourned till Wednesday, July 13 after the judge said he will be travelling on Wednesday, June 22 so will not be available for sitting.

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News Source: NAIJ, 9jaTales

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