The Presidency, on Wednesday, defined as outrageous and travesty of justice the acquittal of Senate President Bukola Saraki by means of the Code of conduct Tribunal, which upheld the no-case submission of the Senate President.
The special Assistant to the President on Prosecution, Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla, questioned why the CCT disregarded the load of “overwhelming proof” in opposition to Saraki, who become attempted for fake asset statement by way of the Federal authorities.
The CCT in Abuja had discharged and acquitted Saraki of all the 18 charges of false asset announcement and other related offences favored in opposition to him.
the 2-man panel of the CCT, led by way of its Chairman, Danladi Umar, unanimously upheld the no-case submission, filed by way of Saraki after the prosecution closed its case with forty eight reveals tendered and after the stories of the fourth and the last prosecution witness on may also four, 2017.
but the Transparency global (Nigeria) and a chieftain of the defunct countrywide Democratic Coalition, Mr. Ayo Opadokun, amongst others, defined the judgment as unhappy and a calculated try and frustrate the war against corruption within the country.
The CCT chairman, Umar, in his lead ruling, exonerated Saraki of all of the costs on, amongst different grounds, the failure of the prosecution to reap Saraki’s assertion and make it a part of the proof of evidence.
He described as “absurd” that neither Saraki’s announcement nor the record of research said to were done was produced before the tribunal.
He agreed with the defence team, led via chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), that the prosecution’s proof have been manifestly discredited at some point of cross-examination via the defence.
He delivered that the evidence adduced by means of the prosecution, led by means of Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), was “so unreliable that no affordable tribunal ought to convict” anybody based totally on it.
Umar also mentioned that the evidence of the first prosecution witness, Mr. Michael Wetkas, an operative of the EFCC, changed into unreliable.
regarding the evidence of the second one prosecution witness, Mr. Amazi Nwachuckwu, Head of finances transfer Unit of the warranty accept as true with bank, Umar referred to that the witness had testified that files relating to alleged foreign transfers via Saraki have been fed on in a fire incident, including that there has been not anything to show the fees that had been primarily based on the documents.
lawyers and Saraki’s supporters in court burst into wild jubilation as soon as the tribunal made the pronouncement exonerating the Senate President on Wednesday.
whilst the lead defence suggest, Agabi, thanked the tribunal for the ruling, the counsel, who led the prosecution crew at the Wednesday’s sitting, Mr. Pius Akutah, advised reporters that the prosecution would assessment the ruling “if you want to decide the next step”.
The charges instituted against Saraki earlier than the CCT related to the alleged breaches of the code of behavior for public officers, acts which were said to be punishable under the constitution and the CCB/CCT Act.
He allegedly committed the breaches through making fake announcement of his assets whilst being the governor of Kwara country between 2003 and 2007 for his first time period and between 2007 and 2011 for his 2nd time period as governor and from 2011 to 2015 as a Senator.
a number of the breaches were that he acquired N375m mortgage from guaranty agree with financial institution p.c in 2010, transformed it to £1,515,194.fifty three and transferred the sum to the UK for full and very last loan charge for a London belongings.
extra fees towards him included allegation that he persevered to get hold of earnings and emoluments as governor of Kwara country after the expiration of his tenure and at the identical time, from the Federal authorities as a Senator among June 2011 and October 2013.
He turned into additionally stated to have did not declare to the Code of behavior Bureau on assumption of office as Governor of Kwara kingdom in 2003, his leasehold interest in the property at 42 Remi Fani-Kayode avenue, Ikeja, Lagos.
The prosecution additionally alleged that at the same time as being a public officer, the ex-governor operated bank money owed outside Nigeria and did not claim the overseas money owed to the CCB while being governor and a senator all through the period.
homes that have been allegedly falsely declared with the aid of Saraki protected 17, 17A and 17B McDonald, Ikoyi, Lagos; Plot 2A Glover street, Ikoyi, Lagos; 37A Glover avenue, Ikoyi, Lagos, which he allegedly offered via Carlisle properties; No. 1 and 3 Targus avenue, Maitama, Abuja, in any other case known as 2482, Cadastral zone A06, Abuja.
The excellent court docket had on February five, 2016 brushed off Saraki’s objection tough his trial earlier than the CCT.
In his contribution to the ruling of the tribunal on Wednesday, co-member of the tribunal, Atedze Agwaza, who expatiated at the selection of the tribunal to unfastened Saraki, mentioned that the Senate President became investigated by using an illegal team comprising officers of the CCB, the financial and economic Crimes fee and the department of state services.
He mentioned that such investigative group turned into ordinary to both the charter and the CCB/CCT Act below which Saraki turned into charged.
He also rejected the entire proof of the prosecution on the basis that the proof of the third prosecution witness, Mr. Samuel Madojemu, the head, Intelligence Unit of the CCB, became nothing but hearsay.
Agwaza said, “I locate and preserve that this apposite testimony is an anguish and epidemic that bedevilled the whole prosecution’s case and that particular evidence has rendered the complete-evidence of the prosecution invalid.
“It connotes that PW3 had no first-hand understanding of all he said and the files tendered. this is hearsay proof and violates sections 37, 38 and 126 of the evidence Act 2011.
He stated the combined effect of the illegality of the investigative crew and the inadmissible proof of the prosecution became that “the price is incurably faulty” and amounted to a miscarriage of justice suffered by using the defendant.
Agwaza brought, “it will likely be fundamentally inaccurate for this tribunal to call upon the defendant to prove his innocence.
“on this account, the prosecution had did not hyperlink the defendant to the fee of the offences as charged.”
My CCT trial became torturous, says Senate President
in the meantime, Saraki has described his trial on the CCT as torturous.
The lawmaker stated he knew he changed into innocent of the expenses in opposition to him and changed into prepared to clean his name.
Saraki, in a assertion he signed, said his victory on the tribunal had given desire to the commonplace man that Nigeria’s judiciary should dispense justice.
The declaration read in element, “After present process the crucible of a tortuous trial, my vindication these days calls for celebration. it’s miles my notion however that if there
must be any birthday celebration at all, it ought to be a party of the hopes that this judgment offers us as citizens, that despite all the demanding situations that we are facing as a rustic, we are well on our manner to constructing a rustic where the innocent desires no longer be afraid.
“On a personal word, I habour no grudge towards everybody, regardless of the function they might have performed inside the persecution that I had persevered in the closing years.”
Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, described the development as victory for democracy.
He stated that the acquittal did now not come to him as a surprise as “the trumped-up forgery and conspiracy costs” filed towards himself and Saraki were later withdrawn through the Federal authorities.
In a statement by way of his unique Adviser on Media, Uche Anichukwu, Ekweremadu delivered that “the CCT trial turned into hatched within the coven of evil politics and was, consequently, bound to fall like a % of cards.”
It’s a unhappy day for anti-corruption fight –TI
The Transparency international (Nigeria), but, defined the acquittal on the CCT as a calculated attempt to demoralise the anti-corruption fight in Nigeria.
the head of the Nigeria bankruptcy of TI, Mr. Auwal Musa-Rafsanjani, said this in a phone interview with one of our correspondents on Wednesday.
consistent with him, what transpired on the CCT was a clear indication that Nigeria’s corrupt elite are united and will forestall at nothing to circumvent the machine.
Musa-Rafsanjani said, “it’s miles every other sad day for the anti-corruption combat in Nigeria. I suppose Nigerians are unhappy that this has befell. It simply is going to expose that Nigeria’s corrupt elite are united.
“To take advantage of the gadget is their thing; they may preserve to connive against the Nigerian humans. They haven’t any regard for ethno-non secular or birthday party affiliation, the corrupt Nigerian elite are united in perpetuating violence and plundering our resources to perpetuate themselves in electricity.
“you could see how they were celebrating this kangaroo verdict, which is a calculated try to demoralise the anti-corruption community in Nigeria’s try to combat corruption.
“Even the ones human beings like (Col. Sambo) Dasuki (retd,) and all those who helped themselves to our collective patrimony at some point of the President Jonathan generation, who are status trial for corruption, can be set free by this judiciary, however we should never give up. We need to continue to fight until we rid this state of the strains of corruption.”
Saraki’s acquittal outrageous, travesty of justice –Presidential aide
Obono-Obla stated, “it is a travesty of justice. it’s miles pedestrian and it is outrageous. it’s miles in opposition to the weight.
“there has been overwhelming proof, cogent evidence, incontrovertible proof, which can’t be dismissed through a no-case submission. The trial judge should have called at the defendant to go into his defence in opposition to the proof adduced by means of the prosecution.
“The prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), is one the quality in the united states and he performed that case professionally, conscientiously and diligently.
“So we are surprised, we’re amazed.”
He described as balderdash, the hypothesis that the CCT’s ruling was an final results of a political agreement reached among Saraki and some high-profiled individuals of the Buhari administration.
He said, “it is balderdash; it is hogwash.
“We recognize that President Muhammadu Buhari is a paragon of integrity. The lawyer trendy of the Federation is likewise a paragon of integrity in order to by no means compromise cases.”
Obono-Obla, but, vowed that the anti-corruption combat might maintain no matter the setback.
He stated, “And we will move on with this combat towards corruption regardless of the disappointment, notwithstanding the setback.
“we will cross lower back to the drafting board, re-strategise because Nigeria need to be stored.
“Our head is bruised however it is unbowed.”
Fayose, Ahmed, others hail ruling
Ekiti state Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has hailed the victory of Saraki at the CCT as some other victory for Nigerians over tyranny.
Fayose, who spoke thru his special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, on Wednesday, said the judgment became some other lesson for the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress authorities that criminal cases have been no longer gained on the pages of newspapers.
He drew the attention of Nigerians to wide variety eight of his 22 predictions for yr 2017.
He stated, “I said it categorically that the Code of behavior Tribunal will absolve Senate President Bukola Saraki and nowadays, the prediction came to bypass.”
“i have maintained that the authorities of President Buhari isn’t always preventing any corruption. as an alternative, what’s being carried out is hiding under anti-corruption combat to persecute, humiliate, harass and malign perceived political enemies.”
In his reaction, the Kwara country Governor, Abdulfattah Ahmed, stated, “The no-case verdict is an affidavit and a vindication of the incorruptibility of Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, which a number of us, who are privileged to paintings with him, have continually recognised him for.
“He has continually been selfless in his services to the coolest humans of Kwara kingdom and Nigeria at big.”
further, human rights legal professional, leader Mike Ozekhome (SAN), hailed the acquittal of Saraki with the aid of the CCT.
He said the ruling with the aid of the tribunal changed into evidence that the anti-corruption warfare turned into nothing but a ruse to fool the feeble-minded.
In a announcement on Wednesday, Ozekhome stated, “The CCT turned into ambitious, courageous and proper, regardless of visible govt interference and manipulation, to have discharged and acquitted Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, on all the counts of fake assertion of assets levelled towards him.
Ozekhome said the performance of government prosecutors in court changed into reminiscent of the tv comedy programme, Fuji residence of Commotion.
He said the government ought to get critical in preference to disgracing itself each time.
also, ratings of individuals of the Kwara country chapter of the APC trooped to the streets of Ilorin in jubilation over the acquittal of Saraki by means of the CCT.
but a few prominent Kwara nation indigenes expressed shock and sadness on the ruling. those encompass a former NADECO chieftain, Mr. Ayo Opadokun; a former Kwara country governorship aspirant inside the Peoples
Democratic celebration, Mr. Sunday Babalola; a social critic, Alhaji Olola Kasum; a factional chairman of the PDP in the country, leader Iyola Oyedepo; and Mr. Sunday Fagbemi.
Addressing birthday party supporters at the APC nation secretariat, the state chairman of the party, Alhaji Ishola Fulani, said Saraki’s acquittal turned into a great development, including that the allegations towards him were politically inspired.
He said, “we’re going to the Emir of Ilorin to rejoice with him and thank him for supporting our leader, the Senate President. From there, we are able to circulate to the executive Governor of Kwara kingdom to thank him for his assist from the outset as much as the give up of this time.”
A former APC woman leader and chairperson, Kwara kingdom nearby government
provider fee, Alhaja Sarah Adebayo, expressed delight at the judgement, saying it became a welcome improvement.
The Director-preferred, ABS Mandate, Alhaji Abdul Issa, in a declaration by using an reliable of the outfit, Alhaji Kayode Omotose, counseled eminent people for status via Saraki.
The Speaker of the Kwara country residence of meeting, Dr. Ali Ahmad, described the ruling as victory for rule of regulation in Nigeria.
In a declaration he in my view signed, the Speaker stated with the discharge and acquittal of the Senate President, the Judiciary had tested its impartiality and independence by way of formally maintaining Saraki innocent.
The APC individuals and Saraki supporters later moved from the APC secretariat in rankings of cars to the palace of the Emir of Ilorin, Ahaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, to explicit their happiness.
additionally, the Senator representing Ogun East Senatorial District at the countrywide assembly, Buruji Kashamu, congratulated Saraki on his discharge and the dismissal of the case against him at the CCT.
In a declaration on Wednesday, Kashamu said, “This development gladdens my heart as it will assist to deepen our democracy and further entrench the concepts of the separation of powers and the rule of regulation.”
Opadokun, Kasum, others condemn judgment
however Opadokun and other competition contributors faulted Saraki’s acquittal.
Opadokun stated, “it’s miles a curious judicial summersault this is truely going to be unravelled sooner than later. i am truly surprised that a quasi-judicial tribunal would gift this type of ruling whilst the evidences have been inside the public domain.
“I believe that the prosecution have a duty, which Nigerians will count on them to perform diligently on the way to save the recognition and the image of the Nigerian nation.”
Babalola brought, “it’s miles very sad. With all the evidences that had been presented, any individual paid into an account one hundred fifty times an afternoon and the account belongs to him and he did not claim it, and they nevertheless acquitted such a person. it’s far only a manner of saying that corruption is business as traditional, unlimited. it’s miles very, very unhappy certainly.”
Kasum said, “The FG have to take the case to the splendid court. The anti-corruption struggle of FG has failed with the acquittal of Saraki.”
Fagbemi stated, “this is surprising. it’s miles contrary to expectancies; with all of the celebrated evidences? this is why they stated the law is a double-edged sword.”
Oyedepo stated, “It shows that the anti-corruption war of the Federal authorities is a charade; it does now not worth some thing. The anti-corruption battle is a ruse. we’re unhappy and taken aback at the judgment. What did we anticipate? I suppose the party (APC) and the executive have agreed to scuttle the trial with a purpose to provide a platform for cohesion of their celebration. The judgment is sad and surprising.”
FG’s witnesses messed up Saraki’s trial – SAN
A Senior propose of Nigeria, Emeka Ngige, stated the witnesses supplied through the Federal government in Saraki’s trial have been liable for the lack of the trial, noting that they labored at move functions with the authorities.
Ngige stated, “i’m amazed that this sort of case should be dismissed. It brings to the fore the difficulty of the Federal government’s witnesses coming to the court docket to contradict their very own evidences. one of the witnesses, an EFCC operative, contradicted his witness, which I believe the defence suggest capitalised on.
“This was the same issue which occurred in Justice Ademola’s case. therefore, one starts offevolved to marvel if the witnesses are operating at move-purposes with the authorities.
“regardless of how diligent the prosecutor is, if the witnesses mess him up, the case will go through the consequences we see in Saraki’s trial. The government ought to appearance inward and work on its witnesses.”
another SAN, chief Onueze Okocha, believed the prosecution of the case became vulnerable.
Okocha said, “This have to be a sign to the Federal government that its desires to get it act collectively if it wants to severely combat corruption. You should have enough evidence, enough to set up a prima facie case earlier than taking a case to court; in any other case, you will make a multitude of the anti-corruption fight.
“For a case to terminate on the stage of no-case submission, as we’ve visible in the case of Ademola, and now within the case of Saraki, it suggests that the prosecution desires to up its recreation. This has happened repeatedly.
“In a civilised society, you don’t take a case to courtroom until you have got sufficient proof. The investigation and the prosecuting companies ought to up their game.”