Court Reserves Judgment In Saraki’s Case Against CCT

The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal on Thursday reserved its judgement in the appeal filed by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, challenging his trial on charges relating to asset declaration breaches before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

The Senate President is being prosecuted by the Federal Government on 16 counts including false asset declaration which he allegedly committed as governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011.

The Justice Abdul Aboki-led panel of the Court of Appeal reserved its judgment after parties to the appeal adopted their briefs on Thursday.

Justice Aboki said the date to deliver the court’s judgment would be communicated to the lawyers to the parties.

Saraki, represented by his lawyer, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), had on April 4, 2016 filed a nine-ground notice of appeal against a March 24, 2016 ruling of the CCT upholding its jurisdiction to entertain the charges preferred against the Senate President.

Part of the grounds of Saraki’s appeal was that the CCT was wrong not to have dismissed the charges because he was not invited by the Code of Conduct Bureau to clarify the alleged breaches in his asset declaration forms before filing charges against him.

At the hearing of the appeal on Thursday, Agabi told the court that CCB did not obtain the statement filed along with the charges.

“If you bring an accused to court without his statement, it can do damage to his case,” he said.

The respondent’s (Federal Government’s) lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), asked the court to dismiss the appeal.

He said, “I urge this court to hold that this appeal lacks merit and should be dismissed. Once the CCB finds an infraction in an asset declaration form, the onus is on the defendant to prove his innocence before the tribunal.”

Saraki’s earlier appeal aimed at ending his trial on similar grounds that the CCT lacked jurisdiction was dismissed by the Supreme Court on February 5, 2016, ordering him to submit himself for trial.