Saraki Asks Ap­peal Court to Dis­miss False As­set Dec­la­ra­tion Charges against Him

THISDAY - - NEWS EXTRA - Alex Enumah in Abuja

Se­nate Pres­i­dent, Bukola Saraki on yes­ter­day asked the Court of Ap­peal, Abuja di­vi­sion to dis­miss the false as­set dec­la­ra­tion charges brought against him by the Fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

Saraki, in his fi­nal ar­gu­ment on the ap­peal filed by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment against the rul­ing of the Code of Con­duct Tri­bunal (CCT), urged the ap­pel­late court to hold that the charges against him were un­mer­i­to­ri­ous and lacked sub­stance.

In the fi­nal ar­gu­ment can­vassed by a for­mer At­tor­ney Gen­eral of the Fed­er­a­tion and Min­is­ter of Jus­tice, Kanu Agabi SAN, the Se­nate Pres­i­dent claimed that con­trary to the gov­ern­ment de­po­si­tion, the 18 count charges were based on hearsay and de­lib­er­ate false­hood.

He cited the ev­i­dence of a pros­e­cu­tion wit­ness and Head of In­ves­ti­ga­tion and In­tel­li­gence Unit, Sa­muel Mado­jemu, who tes­ti­fied that the Code of Con­duct Bureau CCB, did not con­duct any in­ves­ti­ga­tion on any as­set mat­ter be­cause there was no pe­ti­tion against the de­fen­dant.

The Se­nate Pres­i­dent also said that the same wit­ness ad­mit­ted that CCB did not ob­tain any state­ment from him (Saraki) and that the charges were filed against him based on the in­for­ma­tion supplied by an un­named team. “From the to­tal­ity of ev­i­dence ad­duced at the tri­bunal, it was ab­so­lutely clear that the charges were based on hearsay that can­not be sub­stan­ti­ated.

“I am sur­prised that the gov­ern­ment claimed that the onus of proof lies on the part of the de­fen­dant hence, they did not call vi­tal wit­nesses.

“This is fa­tal to the case of the pros­e­cu­tion be­cause in a crim­i­nal mat­ter as in the in­stant case, the onus of proof is to be made by the pros­e­cu­tion”, he said.

Agabi, there­fore urged the ap­pel­late court to up­hold the rul­ing of the Dan­ladi Umar led tri­bunal which had ear­lier dis­charged and ac­quit­ted the de­fen­dant for want of dili­gent pros­e­cu­tion and to hold that the ap­peal of the gov­ern­ment lacked merit.

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

Ja­cobs, who for­mu­lated five is­sues for de­ter­mi­na­tion by the Ap­peal Court pointed out that the tri­bunal erred in law by bas­ing its rul­ing de­liv­ered on June 13, 2017, on hearsay.

He submitted that oral ev­i­dence made in sup­port of a doc­u­men­tary ev­i­dence as in the in­stant case, can­not be said to be hearsay.

“Oral ev­i­dence is a hanger that holds the doc­u­men­tary ev­i­dence as in the in­stant case”, he said.

He, there­fore, urged the ap­pel­late court to set aside the rul­ing of the tri­bunal on the grounds that the tri­bunal mis­di­rected it­self in us­ing hearsay as the ba­sis for dis­charg­ing and ac­quit­ting Saraki from the crim­i­nal charges against him.

Jus­tice Tin­u­ade Ako­mo­lafeWil­son af­ter tak­ing ar­gu­ments from the two par­ties an­nounced that judg­ment in the ap­peal has been reaserved and that the date for its de­liv­ery shall be com­mu­ni­cated to par­ties in the suit.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment had in 2015, brought charges of false As­set Dec­la­ra­tion against Saraki shortly af­ter he emerged as the Se­nate Pres­i­dent, but Saraki was on June 13, 2017, dis­charged and ac­quit­ted by the tri­bunal in a rul­ing on a No Case sub­mis­sion on the grounds that the charges were based on ev­i­dence from doubt­ful sources.

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