Appeal Court orders CCT to try Saraki

Isaac Cain
December 14, 2017

The three-member panel led by Justice Tinuade Akomolafe-Wilson unanimously ruled that Saraki should return to the CCT to face trial on three counts out of the 18 initially slammed on him.

According to the Court of Appeal, the prosecution established that there were discrepancies in the claims on the asset declaration forms on how the two houses in Ikoyi were acquired.

Akomolafe-Wilson said from the totality of the evidence adduced at the tribunal, it was proved beyond reasonable doubt that the 15 counts knocked off were based on hearsay evidence that have no probate value.

The decision of the CCT did not go down well with the EFCC and proceeded on appeal.

The Senate president's camp has previously denied any wrongdoing and on Tuesday issued a statement in which it said Saraki had been "victorious" due to the 15 charges being dropped.

Justice Akomolafe-Wilson, in the 70-page unanimous judgment, struck out 15 of the 18 charges brought by the government against the ruling of the tribunal on the grounds that they were incompetent.

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The judgment delivered by a two-man panel, led by its chairman, Danladi Umar was anchored on the grounds that the prosecution, after calling four witnesses and tendering 48 documentary exhibits, a prima facie case was not be established against the senate president.

Saraki was dragged before the Tribunal by the Code of Conduct Bureau, with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission providing the lead prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, and its operatives giving evidence.

The charges instituted against Saraki before the CCT related to the alleged breaches of the code of conduct for public officers, acts which were said to be punishable under the Constitution and the CCB/CCT Act.

In count five, 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 the 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 the sale of rice and sugar.

Similarly, the court faulted the prosecution for falling to call relevant witnesses to support its allegation that Saraki operated foreign account while he was in office as Governor of Kwara State.

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