Friday, July 6, 2018

My Emergence As Senate President Led To My CCT Trial – Saraki

Senate President Bukola Saraki speaks during a plenary at the Senate Chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

Dr Bukola Saraki has blamed his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on his emergence as the President of the Senate.

Senator Saraki made the allegation in a statement on Friday after he was discharged of all 18 charges brought against him by the Federal Government.

“The case was trumped up in the first instance because of my emergence as the President of the Senate against the wishes of certain forces,” he alleged, adding “As I said in my first appearance at the CCT, this is a politically motivated case. Ordinarily, I doubt anyone would be interested in the asset declaration form I filled over 15 years ago.”

The Senate President stressed further, “Instead of working together in the interest of the nation and to seek to do better for our people, we are fighting one another and using legal instruments to mount baseless accusations against one another; instead of exhibiting the need for unity and working day and night for that purpose, we are stoking the fire of division and rancour.

“I maintain that, above all else, my CCT trial has been a flagrant vilification of my person and shows that some people are after their personal interests rather than the national interest.”

After a series of legal tussle that lasted for more than two years, the CCT in 2017 quashed the 18 counts of false asset declaration and money laundering against Saraki by the government for lacking in merit.

While the Court of Appeal agreed in part with the lower court in its ruling in January 2018, it held that Saraki had a case to answer in counts 4, 5, and 6, which had to do with his purchase of properties in the Ikoyi area of Lagos State.

When the matter came up at the Supreme Court today (Friday), the court held that there was no basis for the appeal court to have asked the Senate President to defend himself on the remaining three charges, having found the entire evidence of the prosecution as a product of hearsay.

The apex court then dismissed the entire 18 charges against Saraki and consequently discharged and acquitted him accordingly.

Reacting to the judgement, the lawmaker said he was happy with his vindication by the court “at the end of a tortuous journey of 1,018 Days counting from September 22, 2015.”

He further criticised the war against corruption which he claimed, “is being prosecuted with vindictiveness, to target perceived political opponents.”

The Senate President thanked Nigerians, especially his colleagues in the National Assembly and the international community for their support through his trying period.

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