Nigeria’s Senate President, Bukola Saraki has released a statement concerning his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal which resumes today.
Tomorrow morning, I will be at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in respect of 3 of the 18-count charges for which I have previously been cleared by the same Tribunal.
This is following the verdict of the Court of Appeal which ordered that we should go and open our defence on 3 of the counts.
As a lawmaker and a law-abiding citizen in a nation governed by the rule of law, as opposed to the rule of men, I choose to appear before the Tribunal tomorrow — despite having a pending appeal before the Supreme Court on the same matter.
My lawyers actually advised that we should apply for a stay of the CCT proceedings pending the determination of the Appeal that we earlier filed before the Supreme Court.
But I have a different opinion. I feel that despite the pending appeal before the apex Court, I should and will put up my defence as regards the 3 counts.
I am convinced of my innocence on these counts and confident consequently of a favourable decision of the Tribunal on them.
This has always been my position from Day 1.
My greatest interest has always been to clear my name as soon as possible and it is my hope that justice will be expeditiously served by the Tribunal.
-Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki (CON)
President of the Senate
Mr. Bukola Saraki was accused of false asset declaration and arraigned before the CCT by the Code of Conduct Bureau in 2015.
He was later discharged of all 18-count charges against him by a two-member panel of the tribunal led by its chairman, Danladi Umar.
In a ruling on Mr. Saraki’s no-case submission in June, 2017, Mr. Umar agreed with the submissions of Mr. Saraki’s lawyers that he (Saraki) had no case to answer and subsequently cleared the Senate President of all allegations against him.
Dissatisfied with the ruling, however, the Federal government appealed the decision of the tribunal resulting in the December 12 judgement of the Appeal Court.
A three-member panel of the appeal court led by judge, Tinuade Akomolafe-Wilson, held that Mr. Saraki needed to explain himself in the light of evidences mounted against him by the prosecution.
The appeal court said the prosecution clearly accused Mr. Saraki of falsely declaring that he purchased a residence at number 17a McDonald Street Ikoyi Lagos from his (Saraki’s) proceeds of the sale of rice, when according to the prosecution the house was purchased with loans obtained while the Senate president was governor of Kwara state.
The appeal court also said the prosecution succeeded in showing that Mr. Saraki obtained the controversial loan from the Guaranty Trust bank, amounting to N380 million.
Mr. Saraki was equally accused of failing to declare a liability of over N315 million from the loan at the end of his tenure as governor.