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Bukola Saraki Set To Face Fresh Charges Over Assets Declaration

Bukola Saraki Set To Face Fresh Charges Over Assets Declaration
The Federal Government yesterday filed an amended charge against the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on alleged falsification and non-declaration of assets between 2003 and 2015.

The amended charge was signed by A.K. Alilu, an assistant chief state counsel in the office of the Attorney General of the Federation. This is the third time the government will be filling an amended charge against the Senate President, since his trial started.

The 18-count amended charge was brought to the attention of the Code of Conduct Tribunal chairman, Umar Danladi Yakubu, by the lead counsel to the Senate President, Chief Kanu Agabi, midway into the proceedings on the old charge. The counsel objected to the continuation of proceedings, since there was an amended charge against his client.

According to him, the lead prosecution counsel just furnished him with the information about the amended charge. He claimed the action of the prosecution was in bad faith, especially calling witnesses to continue the trial, when a fresh charge had been filed at the tribunal. Agabi, therefore, demanded suspension of the trial, as the amended charge takes precedence over the old charge.

In the alternative, he demanded the withdrawal of the amended charge, if the prosecution wanted the trial to continue. He applied for an adjournment to enable his client and the legal team take time to study the new charge and prepare the defence along the new charge.

He argued that the adjournment had become necessary so as not to allow the prosecution to ambush them. In his reaction, the prosecution counsel confirmed filing amended charge, but said he allowed the trial on the old charge to continue since the tribunal had already fixed yesterday for continuation of the trial.

In his ruling, the tribunal chairman agreed with Agabi that the defence needed time to study the fresh charge and adjourned the matter till March 23 for the Senate President to take fresh plea.

Before the adjournment, the third Prosecution Witness (PW3), Samuel Madojemu, head, investigation department of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), had confirmed to the tribunal that the certified true copies (CTCs) of the assets declaration forms of Saraki, tendered by the prosecution, were the same with the original.

The witness said the CCB did not investigate the declared assets of Saraki in the assets forms from 2003 to 2015 until the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) came to conduct a joint investigation of the seven different declarations by Saraki.

He told the tribunal that there were some discrepancies in Saraki’s assets declaration forms, which included false declaration and non-declarations.

Madojemu, who is an administration officer in charge of Investigation Division at the CCB, informed the Chairman, Justice Danladi Umar, that the Senate President failed to declare a property on 15 MacDonald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, which he allegedly acquired, and Tiny-T, a company he also refused to declare at the end of his tenure as Kwara governor.

Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), the witness, who came to the tribunal with CTCs of Saraki’s assets declaration forms for the various periods, disclosed that his team of investigators was constituted, comprising EFCC and CCB intelligence officers, and carried out the task of investigating the Senate President.

He said: “One of the discrepancies we discovered has to do with false declaration and non-declaration of some assets and liabilities. “15 MacDonald Road was acquired at Ikoyi in Lagos in 2006, but it was not declared in the defendant’s end-of-tenure declaration form as governor.”

He noted that what prompted the further investigation of Saraki’s property was the discrepancies noticed by first investigating team of the EFCC, adding that it was on that basis the Attorney General of the Federation authorised an inter-agency probe of the defendant’s assets.
Bukola Saraki Set To Face Fresh Charges Over Assets Declaration Bukola Saraki Set To Face Fresh Charges Over Assets Declaration Reviewed by Thank God on 2/09/2017 Rating: 5

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