Appeal court rules against Saraki, says he must face trial

Leslie Hanson
December 13, 2017

Justice Tinuade Akomolafe-Wilson-led Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has, Tuesday, struck out 15 out of the 18-counts amended charges of false assets' declaration brought against the President of the 8th Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki by the federal government and ordered the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCB) to conduct a fresh trial of the Senate President on three of the charges.

Umar dismissed all the 18-count allegations against Saraki on grounds that the Federal Government was unable to prove the allegations.

However, in his own submission, counsel for the Federal Government, Rotimi Jacobs, urged the Appeal Court to set aside the ruling of the CCT on account of miscarriage of justice.

In count six, the prosecution also accused Saraki of making a false declaration in his Assets Declaration Form at the end of tenure as Governor of Kwara in 2007 and on the assumption of office as Executive Governor in 2007 by failing to declare his outstanding loan liabilities of N315 million out of the loan of N380 million obtained from Guaranty Trust Bank Plc.

The Judge said that there were false claims by Saraki in the declaration forms stating how the two houses in Ikoyi were acquired.

The decision was reportedly an unanimous one, the 3-man panel ordering him to return to the CCT to face charges on the 3 remaining counts.

Property that were allegedly falsely declared by Saraki included 17, 17A and 17B McDonald, Ikoyi, Lagos; Plot 2A Glover Road, Ikoyi, Lagos; 37A Glover Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, which he allegedly bought through Carlisle Properties; No. 1 and 3 Targus Street, Maitama, Abuja, otherwise known as 2482, Cadastral Zone A06, Abuja.

Justice Akomolafe-Wilson said, the prosecution erroneously came to the conclusion that the burden of proof on the 15 charges rest on the respondent, whereas it is an established fact that the party that alleges must be the one to prove beyond reasonable doubt.

"At least, today's judgment has confirmed the position of the Tribunal that the prosecution's case was entirely based on hearsay, not on any concrete evidence".

"As soon as it makes the details of the judgment available, our lawyers will review the grounds of the decision and take appropriate action".

In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, he said "we believe that upholding the no-case submission by Dr Saraki with regards to 15 of the 18 counts charges vindicates the innocence of the Senate President".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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