Appeal court orders continuation of Saraki's CCT trial

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Abuja Division of Court of Appeal ruled on Tuesday that Senate President Bukola Saraki must go back to the Code of Conduct Tribunal to defend himself on three out of the 18 counts charges of false assets declaration instituted against him by the Federal Government.

Delivering a unanimous judgment in the appeal filed by the Federal Government against the Senate President's acquittal, the three-man panel of the Court of Appeal headed by Justice Tinuade Akomolafe-Wilson dismissed 15 out of 18 counts filed before the CCT on the grounds of lack of evidence.

On June 14, the CCT acquitted Saraki of the 18 charges of false asset declaration and other related offences preferred against him.

The Court of Appeal ruled that the federal government failed to call the vital witness to prove its allegations against Saraki, which included that he drew salary four years after leaving office as a governor.

But his counsel, Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN) said the judgment would be swiftly studied, adding that the Supreme Court would be approached to adjudicate and reverse the Court of Appeal's decision on the three charges.

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In view of this, the appellate court therefore remitted the case to the CCT for the Senate President to open his defence in the said charges.

Akomolafe-Wilson said from the totality of the evidence adduced at the tribunal, it was proved beyond reasonable doubt that the 15 counts knocked off were based on hearsay evidence that have no probate value.

The Senate president's camp has previously denied any wrongdoing and on Tuesday issued a statement in which it said Saraki had been "victorious" due to the 15 charges being dropped.

The prosecution also alleged that while being a public officer, the ex-governor operated bank accounts outside Nigeria and failed to declare the foreign accounts to the CCB while being governor and a senator during the period.

A two-man panel of the tribunal led by Danladi Umar unanimously accepted a no case submission filed by Saraki in the matter.

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The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has stated that it will be working for the current administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari to blame past administrations for the rate of unemployment in the country.

The Senate president has been dogged by legal cases since taking office.

Saraki noted that the hearing was meant to discuss issues that would inform the Federal Government's budgetary and social policy decisions.

"The confidence and faith of Dr. Saraki in the nation's judiciary and its ability to dispense justice to all manners of people remains unshaken".

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