According to officials of the Ministry of Justice, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki; his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, and others accused of forgery of the Standing Rule of the Senate 2015, are to be arraigned before a Federal Capital Territory High Court on Tuesday (today).
The two and others accused have been served a notice that the arraignment would take place on Tuesday. This is coming as Saraki will also be appearing before the Code of Conduct Tribunal for his ongoing trial on the same day.
“I can only tell you about the case I’m involved in. I don’t know about the CCT trial. But I can tell you that we have tomorrow (Tuesday) as the date of arraignment in respect of the forgery case,” a top ministry official told The PUNCH.
According to Punch, it was learnt that the case was assigned to Justice Yusuf Halilu of the Jabi Division of the FCT High Court last Friday.
However, it is still uncertain if the accused persons will appear in court. This is coming as officials of the High Court of the FCT in Jabi, Abuja, where the accused persons are to be arraigned, confirmed to one of our correspondents on Monday morning that they had not been served.
“We have not served the charges on the accused persons, but we will serve them before the end of today (Monday),” one of the sources said.
Also, Saraki and Ekweremadu, on Monday, said they had yet to be served the court process concerning the suit instituted against them by the Federal Government.
Saraki, who spoke through his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said, “Up till now, we have not been served.”
Also, Ekweremadu, who equally spoke through his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Uche Anichukwu, said,“We have not received any court papers.”
Saraki, Ekweremadu, a former Clerk to the National Assembly, Salisu Maikasuwa, and his then deputy, Benedict Efeturi, were on June 10, charged with two counts of criminal conspiracy and forgery of the Standing Rules used for the leadership election of the presiding officers of the Senate in June, 2015.
The Federal Government stated that the offence of conspiracy was punishable under Section 97 (1) of the Penal Code Act; and offence of forgery with “fraudulent intent” punishable under Section 364 of the same law.
It was alleged that the 2011 version of the Senate Orders was secretly altered by some individuals to produce the 2015 edition.
It was alleged that Rules 3 (3) (e) and (k) in the 2015 edition of the orders were not amended in accordance with the provisions of Rule 110 (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) of the 2011 Orders.
While the 2011 Order Rule 3 (3) (e) provides for manual voting and open ballot in the election of the Senate President and the Deputy Senate President, the 2015 Orders allow electronic and secret ballot voting in the said elections.
Also, while Rule 3 (3) (k) of the 2011 Order makes it mandatory for all members to participate in the process of electing the Senate President and Deputy Senate President, the reverse is the case in the 2015 Orders.
The 2011 Orders, Rule 3 (3) (k) reads, “All Senators-elect shall participate in the nomination and voting for President and Deputy President of the Senate.”
But a similar provision in Rule 3 (3) (i) in the 2015 Orders reads, “All Senator-elect are entitled to participate in the voting for Senate President and Deputy Senate President.”