The Federal Government has written to the Code of Conduct Tribunal asking for a date for the commencement of the trial of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, on charges of false assets declaration.
The letter written on behalf of the Federal Government by the lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), followed the February 5 judgment of the Supreme Court validating the trial of the Senate President before the CCT.
It was learnt that Jacobs sent the letter with a copy of the Supreme Court’s judgment attached to it to the Danladi Umar-led CCT on Monday.
Our correspondent did not get to see a copy of the letter, but the Head, Press and Public Relations of the CCT, Mr. Ibraheem Al-hassan, confirmed to our correspondent that the registrar of the tribunal had received it.
“I have confirmed from the registrar and he confirmed to me that Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), wrote the letter, informing the tribunal that the Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal that was stopping the trial from going on. He attached a copy of the judgment to the letter.
“The letter will be considered and a hearing notice will be issued later on.”
It is expected that the tribunal will give a date for the trial and issue hearing notices to parties to the case this week.
A seven-man panel of the apex court presided over by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, unanimously ruled in its judgment on February 5 that Saraki’s appeal against the jurisdiction of the CCT and the competence of the charges, lacked merit.
Justice Walter Onnoghen, who delivered the lead judgment, dismissed all Saraki’s seven grounds of appeal, affirming that the charges instituted against him were valid and that the tribunal was validly constituted with requisite jurisdiction to try him.
The CJN and other members of the full panel of the apex court, comprising Justices Tanko Muhammad, Sylvester Ngwuta, Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, Chima Nweze and Amiru Sanusi, also consented to the judgment.
The judgment of the Supreme Court terminated an earlier order of the a panel of apex court presided over by now retired Justice John Fabiyi, which had on November 12, 2015, suspended proceedings in the trial of the Senate President.
The CCT is therefore expected to issue a hearing notice for the continuation of the Senate President’s trial.
In the 13 counts initiated by the Federal Government, Saraki was said to have made 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 which were allegedly investigated by the CCB, was found to have “corruptly acquired many properties while in office as 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 is also accused of sending money abroad for the purchase of property in London and that he maintained an account outside Nigeria while serving as governor.
Saraki initially refused to appear before the tribunal prompting it to issue a bench warrant against him.
Saraki failed in his bid to get the Danladi Umar-led tribunal to quash the 13 counts, after he was arraigned on September 22, 2015.
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