False Assets Declaration Trial: I Have No Case To Answer—Saraki Tells CCT

Nigeria’s Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has emphatically told the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, he has no case to answer in the charges of false declaration of assets brought against him by the Federal Government.

It would be recalled that in 2015, shortly after he emerged as the Senate President and leader of the National Assembly, the FG accused Saraki of falsely declaring his assets while he served as the executive governor of Kwara state and when he emerged as a Senator from Kwara.

Recall also that the Federal government had amended the charge against Saraki four times before finally closing the case against the Senate President.

This move was speculated by some people as an attempt to remove or cow Saraki.

Saraki, through his counsel, Mr Paul Erokoro (SAN) informed the Tribunal headed by Justice Dandali Yakubu Umar that he will need the complete record of proceedings since 2015 when the trial started to enable him review the evidence so far adduced by government and to make his no case submission in line with the provisions of the law.

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The Senate President noted that he is ready to file a no case submission in the charges to establish that he was not in any way been linked with any crime or prima facie  established against him since the trial started.

The decision of Saraki to make the no case submission came as the Federal Government formally concluded the prosecution of the charges against him after calling four witnesses and tendering several documents to establish a case of false assets declaration against the defendant.

 Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), who has led the prosecution team since the trial commenced, did not object to the announcement of Saraki to file a no case submission on the ground that it is the defendant’s right to do so.

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Jacobs however pleaded with the Tribunal to consider time factor in View of the fact that trial had dragged since 2015.

Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Umar, after consultation with parties in the matter, fixed June 8, 2016 for the Tribunal to adopt the written submissions expected to be filed and exchanged by the prosecution and the defence.

At the resumed trial yesterday, a prosecution witness, Mr Bayo Dauda had informed the Tribunal that the documents allegedly used for foreign transactions by Saraki were not in possession of his bank.

The witness, who came from one of the banks to tender some documents and give evidence, informed the Tribunal that all efforts to locate the documents were unsuccessful because the transactions had taken place long time ago.

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Besides, the witness further said that he had no address of any proper bought in London by Saraki with the alleged foreign remittances.

He however admitted that Saraki, like any other customer took loans three times from his bank to purchase properties and that the loans had been repaid in line with terms of agreement guiding the loan agreement.

The witness informed the Tribunal that the defendant, apart from not defaulting in the payment for the three loans also complied with other terms which included the submissions of the tittle documents of the properties to bank purchased with the loans.

Dauda further stated that Saraki also had a comprehensive insurance on the properties acquired with the loans.

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