False Asset Declaration Charge: Saraki discharged, acquitted
The Code of Conduct Tribunal has dismissed the case of false asset declaration against Nigeria’s Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
Mr. Saraki made a no-case submission on May 4, after the prosecution closed its case.
In the ruling, the tribunal chairman, Danladi Umar, said the prosecution had failed to prove its allegations.
The Code of Conduct Bureau has in September 2015 slammed a 13-count charge of corruption on Mr. Saraki.
In charge number ABT/01/15, dated September 11 and filed before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Mr. Saraki is accused of offences ranging from anticipatory declaration of assets to making false declaration of assets in forms he filed before the Code of Conduct Bureau while he was governor of Kwara state.
According to the charges, the Senate President was also accused of failing to declare some assets he acquired while in office as governor.
Among other offences, including allegedly acquiring assets beyond his legitimate earnings, Mr. Saraki was also accused of operating foreign accounts while being a public officer – governor and senator.
The offences, the charge said, violated sections of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended.
Mr. Saraki was also said to have breached Section 2 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act and punishable under paragraph 9 of the said Fifth Schedule of the Constitution.
The charges were prepared by M.S. Hassan, a deputy director in the office of the Attorney General of the Federation.
The government later increased the charges to 17 on January 11, 2017. In February 2017, one more charge was added, bringing the charges to 18.
The Senate President pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
In a statement after the charges were filed, Mr. Saraki, said the processes were calculated to rubbish him, saying he was fully ready to assert his innocence.
“We therefore conclude that this is not an anti corruption driven case and cannot be part of the moves aimed at fighting corruption,” the senate president said. “It is simply a pure malicious and politically motivated prosecution aimed at undermining the person and office of the Senate President.”
He said the charges were based “on outright fabrication and mischief, will not and cannot stand the test of justice.”