Saraki’s False Declaration of Asset Suit: S’Court Delivers Judgment July 6 

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By Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Supreme Court Thursday fixed July 6 for judgment in the appeal of Senate President Bukola Saraki against the ruling of the Court of Appeal in his alleged false declaration of assets trial.

The presiding judge of a five-man panel of the Supreme Court, Justice Musa Mohammed Dattijo, fixed July 6 for final judgment after taking arguments from the counsel to parties in the suit.

At Thursday’s proceedings, Saraki asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the 18-count criminal charge of false assets declaration brought against him by the federal government.

He told the court that the charges against him were frivolous and that prima facie case was not established against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) that tried him.

In his adoption of the final address at the court, the Senate president insisted that the charges were brought against him in bad faith by the federal government because the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) empowered to investigate him on asset declaration matters did not do so as required by law.

 His counsel, Mr. Kanu Agabi (SAN), said rather than the CCB investigating Saraki, a purported report of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was used to prepare the charge against him.

He argued that the CCT was right in dismissing the charge during a ruling in his no-case submission because the purported report of EFCC was hearsay in law.

The senior counsel urged the court to look into the testimony of the witnesses called by the federal government, adding that all of them confirmed that there was no petition against him on his declared assets and hence, no investigation was conducted on the same by the CCB.

However, counsel to the federal government, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), urged the court to hold that Saraki has case to answer in the charges. He submitted that there was no law that an investigation must be conducted before charges can be preferred against any defendant.

After taking their submissions, the court announced that it would give its verdict on the matter on July 6 and adjourned proceedings.

Saraki was in 2015 arraigned at the CCT on false assets declaration charges shortly after he emerged the president of the eighth Senate.

However, after a rigorous trial, the tribunal discharged and acquitted Saraki on the ground that prima facie case was not established against him.

Chairman of the Tribunal, Mr. Danladi Yakubu Umar, in the ruling on a no-case submission, held that the charges were based on hearsay and that the tribunal could not convict anybody on hearsay charges.

However, in an appeal at the Court of Appeal filed by the federal government, the appellate court dismissed 15 out of the 18-count charges against Saraki.

The Appeal Court in its judgment delivered on December 12, last year, agreed that the dismissed 15 counts were based on hearsay and directed Saraki to defend himself only on three counts.

The decision of the Appeal Court prompted Saraki to approach the Supreme Court with the prayer that the court should dismiss the entire 18-count charge.