Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The Special Assistant on New Media to the Senate President, Mr. Bamikole Omishore, has accused the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay, of attempting to influence the judgment of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), to ensure the conviction of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
Omishore released an audio recording where Sagay allegedly admitted to â€œtacklingâ€ the judge over the delay in the prosecution of the case.
The recording, he said, was secretly taped two months ago.
The CCT last week dismissed charges of false declaration of assets brought against Saraki by the federal government, in a case that lasted almost two years.
The Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Umar Danladi held that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against the defendant.
The case was largely considered to be political, as a fall out of Sarakiâ€™s emergence as Senate President against the wishes of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in June 2015.
However, Sarakiâ€™s acquittal was criticised by Sagay and another legal aide in the presidency, Mr. Okoi Obno-Obla, who said that the federal government would appeal the CCT ruling.
Reacting, Omishore yesterday took to his twitter handle, @MrBanksOmishore, to accuse Sagay of pushing for the removal of Saraki as Senate President.
He said: â€œClearly, the CCT charges against @bukolasaraki were never about corruption of justice, was strictly to remove him as President of Senate.
â€œProf. Sagayâ€™s attempt to use illegal means to get a conviction is a major reason most cases canâ€™t stand in court of law.
â€œThe fight against corruption is being rubbished by Prof. Sagay. Itâ€™s illegal to try to get convictions by intimidating judges to do your bidding.
â€œThe fight against corruption must be predicated on the rule of law, not sentiments, not media propaganda, double standard or guess work.
â€œThe recording was secretly taped about two months ago outside of Nigeria. I am waiting for Sagay to deny and I will expose more.â€
The transcript of the two minutes, 11 seconds audio recording where a man purported to be Sagay who appeared to be responding to an interview is reproduced below:
â€œWe have actually tackled the judge about the delay, and he gave some reasons mainly that the lawyers prosecuting were not directing themselves at the actual charge, giving evidence which was not totally related, and to some extent one can accept that excuse, because new charges have been filed.
â€œI think if you ask me, that judge himself doesnâ€™t seem to (INAUDIBLE)â€¦ When you allow cross-examination to go on for one month, there is no precedent for that in Nigeria.
â€œUsually you should start cross-examination (INAUDIBLE)â€¦ It has to do with that particular judge. He has lost control of his court.
â€œAnd you are right, by the end of four years, we might still be on that case and the man would have been the Senate President through out in spite of these charges, if we are not careful.â€