By Bukola Olasanmi
Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki has asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the 18-count criminal charges of false assets declaration brought against him by the federal government.
Saraki told the apex court that the charges against him were frivolous and that prima facie case was not established against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal that tried him.
In his adoption of final address at the court, the senate president insisted that the charges were brought against him in bad faith by the federal government because the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) empowered to investigate him on asset declaration matter did not do so as required by law.
His counsel Mr. Kamu Agabi SAN said rather than the CCB investigating Saraki, a purported report of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was used to prepare the charge against him.
He argued that the code of conduct tribunal was right in dismissing the charge during a ruling in his no case submission because the purported report of EFCC was hearsay in law.
The Senior Counsel urged the apex count to look into the testimony of the witnesses called by the Federal government adding that all of them confirmed that there was no petition against him on his declared assets and hence, no investigation was conducted on the same by the CCB.
However, counsel to the Federal Government Mr. Rotimi Jacobs SAN urged the court to hold that Saraki has case to answer in the charges. He submitted that there was no law that an investigation must be conducted before charges can be preferred against any defendant.
However, Justice Musa Mohammed Dattijo who presided over the matter fixed July 6 for final judgment after taking arguments from both parties.
Saraki was in 2015 arraigned at the CCT on false assets declaration charges shortly after he emerged the President of the 8th Senate.
However, after a rigorous trial, the tribunal discharged and acquainted Saraki on the ground that prima facie case was not established him.
Chairman of the Tribunal Mr. Danladi Yakubu Umar in the ruling on a nose case submission held that the charges were based on hearsay and that the tribunal cannot convict anybody on the hearsay charges.
However, in an appeal at the Court of Appeal filed by the Federal government, the appellate court dismissed 15 out of the 18 count charges against Saraki.
The Appeal Court in its judgment delivered on December 12 last year agreed that the dismissed 15 counts were based on hearsay and directed Saraki to defend himself only on three counts.
The decision of the Appeal Court prompted Saraki to approach the Supreme Court with prayer that the apex court dismiss the entire 18 count charges.