Tension as Saraki Returns to CCT Dock Today, Prosecution Readies 13 Witnesses
Saturday PUNCH had reported that the prosecution, led by Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), had proposed 13 prosecution witnesses to testify in the case.
The Supreme Court, through its judgment delivered on February 5, 2016, had paved the way for the trial to begin after dismissing the Senate President’s objection to the validity of the charges and the jurisdiction of the CCT to hear the case.
The Danladi Umar-led tribunal subsequently fixed March 10 for the commencement of the trial, but it later shifted the date to March 11, following a request by Saraki’s new lead counsel, Mr. Kanu Agabi (SAN).
According to a statement issued on March 1 by the Head, Press and Public Relations of the CCT, Mr. Ibraheem Al-hassan, Agabi pleaded with the tribunal for a shift in the trial date to enable him to attend to other urgent matters.
The CCT spokesperson said Agabi conveyed his request to the CCT in a letter dated February 26, 2016.
Saraki was arraigned on 13 counts of false assets declaration on September 22, 2015.
In the charges instituted by the Federal Government, Saraki was accused of making false assets declaration in his forms submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau as a two-term Governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011.
The Senate President, who was said to have submitted four assets declaration forms investigated by the CCB, was allegedly found to have “corruptly acquired many properties while in office as the Governor of Kwara State but failed to declare some of them in the said forms earlier filled and submitted.”
He also allegedly made an anticipatory declaration of assets upon his assumption of office as governor, which he later acquired.
He was also accused of sending money abroad for the purchase of property in London and that he maintained an account outside Nigeria while serving as a governor.
Saraki initially refused to appear before the tribunal, prompting the CCT to issue a bench warrant against him.
He voluntarily submitted himself to the tribunal before the arrest warrant could be executed.
The tribunal rejected his request for the quashing of the 13 counts shortly after he was arraigned on September 22, 2015. PUNCH; Headline Amended