The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has ruled that Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki has no case to answer in the 18 count charge of non-declaration of assets brought against him by the Federal Government.
The Tribunal held that the formulation of the eighteen charges was based on the testimony of the third prosecution witness and Chief Investigation Officer at the Code of Conduct Bureau CCB, Mr. Samuel Madujemu. He had testified that details of the outcome of the investigation were based on information given to him by the “team;” a term which is regarded as invalid in law, as it has no constitutional or statutory backing.
The Justice Danladi Umar-led two-man panel of the CCT had reserved its ruling after hearing Dr. Saraki’s no-case submission and the Federal Government’s objection to it on June 8.
Dr. Saraki had in the non-case submission argued that none of the exhibits tendered and no evidence given by the four prosecution witnesses linked him to the alleged offences to warrant him to defend the charges. According to the tribunal, this was a fatal flaw of the prosecution as the evidence rendered all evidence of the prosecution invalid, hence the declaration that Dr. Saraki was discharged and acquitted.
The Bureau had on September 16, 2015 filed a thirteen-count charge against Dr. Saraki for alleged false and anticipatory declaration of assets. The charges were increased to 15 on April 18, 2016 and another charge was added on April 27, 2016 to make it 16.
The government later increased the charges to 17 on January 11, 2017 and finally to 18 on February 23, 2017. Meanwhile, the Deputy President of the Senate, Dr. Ike Ekeremadu has in a statement signed by his aide, UcheAnichukwu, described the ruling of the tribunal as victory for democracy.
However, some Nigerians have started expressing worry over increasing rate failure of high profile anti-corruption cases brought by federal government at the courts. One of them, Mr. Ifeanyi Mankwe urged the Federal government to investigate its cases thoroughly before bring them up in the media.
Mr. Mankwe also urged the federal Government to re-organise its prosecution team to ensure positive result, describing the increasing rate of failed cases as embarrassing.