By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
Having failed to persuade the Supreme Court to save him from prosecution, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, will on March 10, appear before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, in Abuja, to face corruption charges the federal government preferred against him.
Saraki whose appeal was thrown out by a seven-man panel of Justices of the apex court on February 5, is answering to a 13-count criminal charge bordering on his alleged false declaration of assets.
The apex court panel headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohamed, had in a unanimous judgement, maintained that Saraki has a criminal case to answer, even as it upheld an earlier verdict of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal which okayed the Senate President for prosecution before the CCT. Already, the CCT panel which is headed by Justice Danladi Umar, has issued and served hearing notices on all the parties.
The notices were sequel to a letter that was written on behalf of the Federal Government by the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, which notified the tribunal of the judgment of the Supreme Court for the trial to proceed.
It will be recalled that Saraki had after the apex court dismissed as lacking in merit, the appeal he filed with a view to stopping his trial, said he would have his day in the court to prove his innocence of the charge pending against him.
He however expressed his disappointment with the judgment of the apex court which he said was only invited “to rule on some preliminary issues in the process of commencing the trial”.
Saraki was in the charge before the CCT, marked ABT/01/15 and dated September 11, 2015, accused of breaching section 2 of the CCB and Tribunal Act, an offence punishable under section 23(2) of the Act and paragraph 9 of the said Fifth Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
Aside allegation that he falsely declared his assets, as well as, made anticipatory declaration of assets, Saraki, was also alleged to have operated foreign bank accounts while in office as a public officer. He was alleged to have acquired assets beyond his legitimate earnings.
FG, among other offences, alleged that Saraki, claimed that he owned and acquired No 15A and 15B Mc Donald, Ikoyi, Lagos, through his company, Carlisle Properties Limited in 2000, when the said property was actually sold by the Implementation Committee of the Federal Government landed properties in 2006 to his companies, Tiny Tee Limited and Vitti Oil Limited for the aggregate sum of N396, 150, 000, 00.
He was alleged to have made false declaration on or about June 3, 2011, by refusing to declare plot 2A Glover Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, which he acquired between 2007 and 2008 through his company from the Central Bank of Nigeria for a total sum of N325, 000, 000, 00. Saraki was said to have refused to declare No1 Tagnus street, Maitama, Abuja, which he claimed to have acquired in November 1996 from one David Baba Akawu.