…Tribunal Reserves Ruling
By Kunle Olasanmi
The Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki yesterday told the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) to dismiss the false assets declaration charges brought against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja by the Federal Government on the ground that no prima facie case has been established against him.
Saraki told the Tribunal that from the 18-count charges and the totality of evidence adduced by the government witnesses, he had not been linked in any way with the allegations against him.
In a no-case submission argued by his counsel, Mr. Kanu Agabi (SAN), Saraki said that the prosecution failed to establish the charges against him and as such there was no need for him to be ordered to enter defence by the Tribunal in respect of the charges.
He said that the charges against him were predicated on petitions and that throughout the prosecution’s case, the reports of investigation on the petitions were never made available to the Tribunal for verification.
Saraki’s counsel pleaded with the tribunal to painstakingly read all the petitions so as to be able to establish that the petitions have nothing to do with the Senate President.
Counsel to the Federal Government, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), in his argument insisted that serious prima facie case has been established to warrant the defendant to be called upon by the Tribunal to enter his defence in the charges against him.
He drew the attention of the Tribunal to some assets forms of the defendant, adding that investigations established false declaration of assets.
Rotimi told the Tribunal that discharging the defendant at a no case point level will defeat the fight against corruption and purpose of the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
He maintained that name of the defendant was mentioned in the petitions and that even, without that, a person can still be prosecuted without any petition against him.
The prosecution counsel urged the Tribunal not to form opinion, evaluate evidence or make observations on the facts at this level and urged the Tribunal to hold that a prima facie case had been effectively established against the defendant.
The Tribunal chairman, Hon. Danladi Yakubu Umar, after taking arguments from both sides announced that he will sit down with his colleague on the panel to decide on the no case arguments and that a date for ruling will be communicated to the lawyers when the ruling is ready.
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