By Kunle Olasanmi,
Less than 24 hours after the federal government appealed the judgement of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) which acquitted Senate President Bukola Saraki of charges of corruption and false declaration of assets, the number three man in the country has declared that he has no fears about the appeal.
Saraki’s counsel, Mr. Paul Erokoro, a senior advocate, who spoke with LEADERSHIP, however, said the legal team of the Senate president has not been served with the notice of appeal.
According to him, immediately the appeal is served on them, they will respond.
Eroko said, “We have no fear about the appeal. It is their right to appeal the judgement since they are not satisfy with it. When we are served with the appeal, we shall respond appropriately. We shall meet in court to argue the appeal”.
The CCT had last week cleared the Senate President of 13-count charge of corruption levelled against him.
The government had on Tuesday at the Court of Appeal, Abuja, filed 11 grounds of appeal challenging the judgment of the CCT.
In the notice of appeal signed by Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) and Pius Akutah, an assistant Chief State Counsel, the federal government is seeking an order setting aside the CCT judgment of June 14 that upheld the no case submission filed by Saraki at the close of the prosecution’s case, even as it is praying the Court of Appeal for an order calling on Saraki to enter his defence.
In clearing Saraki of the 18-count criminal charges bordering on alleged false asset declaration brought against him, Mr. Danladi Umar, the tribunal chairman said the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against Mr. Saraki.
He therefore upheld the no-case submission made by the defendant’s counsel, Kanu Agabi.
In the notice of appeal which was filed yesterday, the government said the judgment was unconstitutional, without jurisdiction, unwarranted, unreasonable and against the weight of evidence.
It argued that the tribunal failed to analyse and evaluate the evidence of the prosecution witnesses before reaching its no case submission.
The government held that the CCT failed to point out any apparent discredited evidence on the face of the record before upholding the no case submission.
According to the government, the power of the CCT when upholding a no case submission is to discharge Saraki and not to acquit him.
It said the findings of the CCT that EFCC did not invite Saraki was not supported by the evidence tendered by the prosecution, which was Saraki’s handwritten statement made after caution.
It said the CCT failed to be bound by the judicial precedent of a superior court of record and has denied the government its right to fair hearing as guaranteed by the Constitution.