12 December 2017

Nigeria: Saraki Reacts to Appeal Court Judgement Ordering His Retrial

Photo: Premium Times
Senate President Bukola Saraki.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has reacted to the decision of the Appeal Court sending him back to the Code of Conduct Tribunal to answer to three charges on false asset declarations.

Mr. Saraki said he is vindicated by the decision of the court to strike out 15 of the 18 charges levelled against him.

The Nigerian government had appealed the acquittal of the Senate President earlier this year by the CCT.

The tribunal had dismissed all 18-count allegations of false and anticipatory declaration of asset by Mr. Saraki.

At its sitting on Tuesday, the Court of Appeal ruled that Mr. Saraki did not sufficiently answer three of the charges.

In a statement by his media aide, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Mr. Saraki said the decision of the court further proves his innocence.

"We noted the verdict of the Court of Appeal Court today in which it agreed with the decision of the Code of Conduct Tribunal that Senate President, Bukola Saraki has no case to answer on 15 of the 18 charges filed against him by the Federal Government.

"We believe that upholding the no case submission by Mr. Saraki with regards to 15 of the 18 counts charges vindicates the innocence of the Senate President. At least, today's judgement has confirmed the position of the Tribunal that the prosecution's case was entirely based on hearsay, not on any concrete evidence.

"The verdict of the Court of Appeal, just like that of the Tribunal before it, aligned with our position that the preposterous claims made during trial by the prosecution concerning operation of foreign accounts, making anticipatory declarations, collecting double salaries, owning assets beyond his income and failure to declare assets owned by companies in which the Senate President owns interests, among others, have fallen like a pack of cards and lack any basis," Mr. Olaniyonu said.

The statement hinted that the Senate President would challenge the decision of the appellate court.

"On the remaining three counts, which really touch on two issues, referred back to the Tribunal for the Senate President's defence, it should be noted that the Appellate Court only gave a summary of its decision today promising to provide the parties with certified true copies of the judgment soon. As soon as it makes the details of the judgement available, our lawyers will review the grounds of the decision and take appropriate action.

"We remain convinced about the innocence of the Senate President on the three (or two) counts because we believe the decision of the Court of Appeal is not consistent with the submissions made by both parties at the Tribunal. Thus, it is our view that that aspect of the judgment will not stand.

"The confidence and faith of Mr. Saraki in the nation's judiciary and its ability to dispense justice to all manners of people remains unshaken."

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