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Friday, 30 October 2015

#OnMyRadar: Saraki's Trial Continues As He heads To Supreme Court

The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal has delivered judgment in the appeal seeking to quash the 13-count criminal charge pending against the Senate President, Dr. Olubukola Saraki before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT. The Court dismissed all issues raised by the Senate President and two judges out of the panel of three judges ruled that his appeal  lacked merit.

The appellate court had earlier adjourned its verdict on the matter indefinitely, a situation that forced the Justice Danladi Umar-led tribunal to defer hearing on the case against Saraki till November 5, to await the outcome of the appeal. This means the hearing will still hold on the 5th of November.

The tribunal took the decision to suspend full-blown hearing on the criminal case after the Justice Moore Adumein panel of the appeal court, on October 21, postponed its judgement without adducing any reason. A source at the appellate court who spoke to Vanguard on ground of anonymity that day,
insisted that the “eleventh-hour deferment of judgment on Saraki’s appeal”, was not unconnected with the just concluded screening of Ministerial nominees that were forwarded to the Senate by the Presidency.

Saraki is in his appeal, challenging the legal propriety of the 13-count charge that was preferred against him by the Federal Ministry of Justice. He was among other offences, alleged to have owned and operated foreign bank accounts while being a public officer. However, aside challenging the charge, Saraki also queried the constitutionality of the warrant of arrest that was initially issued against him by Chairman of the CCT, Justice Umar.

Besides, the embattled Senate President, through his team of lawyers led by a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Mr. J.B. Daudu, SAN, wants the higher court to ascertain whether the Justice Umar-led panel subscribed to the appropriate legal procedure when it ordered him to mount the dock and enter his plea to the charge despite preliminary objections against his trial. He raised 12 grounds of appeal against the CCT, supported by a 16-paragraphed affidavit and four exhibits. Saraki also deposed another 17-paragraphed affidavit of urgency, wherein he urged the higher court to intervene and protect him from what he described as “a politically motivated witch-hunt”.

Out of the 12-grounds, five of them were basically seeking to invalidate the charge against Saraki. He begged the appellate court to suspend the proceeding of the tribunal pending the hearing and determination of his substantive appeal against the Justice Umar-led panel. The appellate court had on October 8, okayed accelerated hearing on the matter. Meantime, the Federal Government, while urging the appellate court to dismiss the appeal, maintained that it has garnered sufficient evidence to establish that Saraki, as a public officer, acquired several assets beyond his legitimate earnings.

FG, through its lead prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, equally told the appellate court that five
witnesses it lined-up against the Senate President, have all expressed their readiness to appear before
the CCT tomorrow to testify and tender exhibits against him. Among those that FG billed to give oral testimony against Saraki included the erstwhile Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and present governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai. Specifically, El-Rufai is expected to testify that he
was the one that sold one of the assets that Saraki bought in Abuja, which the government alleged that he failed to list among the assets he acquired while in office as the governor of Kwara State.

The prosecuting counsel, told the appellate court that Saraki has already been furnished with all the proof of evidence against him, including copies of four separate assets declaration forms that he
earlier submitted before the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB. Therefore, FG, urged the appellate court to dismiss the appeal and order Saraki to go to the CCT and clear his name.

#Update: #OnMyRadar: The Senate President has been alleged to have said he is going ahead to the Supreme court. The drama no be here o. We dey look

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