Nige­rian Sen­ate leader in court on cor­rup­tion charges

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

ABUJA—Nige­rian Sen­ate pres­i­dent Bukola Saraki on Mon­day kicked off his cor­rup­tion trial by deny­ing he fal­si­fied par­lia­men­tary rules to get elected.

The in­flu­en­tial Nige­rian politi­cian has been charged with two counts of crim­i­nal con­spir­acy and forgery and was in the dock along­side his deputy, Ike Ek­w­ere­madu, at the high court in Abuja.

The clerk of the Na­tional As­sem­bly, Sal­isu Maika­suwa, and his deputy, Bene­dict Ef­turi, are also fac­ing the same charges.

Ac­cord­ing to the charge sheet, the de­fen­dants “with fraud­u­lent in­tent forged” par­lia­men­tary doc­u­ments and used them to get Saraki and Ek­w­ere­madu elected in June last year. Con­vic­tion car­ries a max­i­mum 14year jail sen­tence. Judge Yusuf Halilu granted all four men bail and ad­journed the case un­til July 11.

Saraki, from Buhari’s gov­ern­ing All Pro­gres­sives Congress, be­came pres­i­dent of Nige­ria’s up­per cham­ber of par­lia­ment un­op­posed af­ter se­cur­ing back­ing of the main op­po­si­tion Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party.

But he was not the APC’s first choice, which led some to claim the charges against him are po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated.

Saraki is also fac­ing charges of fail­ing to dis­close as­sets in a sep­a­rate case re­lat­ing to his time as a state gover­nor from 2003 to 2011. He has de­nied wrong-do­ing.—AFP

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