Saraki docks, pleads not guilty to corruption charges

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By OKOSUN OKHUELEIGBE

The Senate President, Dr. Olubukola Saraki, was on Tuesday morning docked at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, (CCT), sitting in Abuja.

He pleaded not guilty to the 13-count charge bordering on false declaration of asset and corruption.

However, the opening trial was characterized with dramatic feats with the accused person refusing
to mount the dock.

The trial tribunal, presided by Justice Danladi Umar, who called up Saraki’s case at exactly 10:32am called on the Senate President to mount the dock but refused to do so. After much argument, he entered the dock.

At a point, Justice Umar declared not seeing Dr Saraki who was sandwiched by fellow senators.

“Where is the prosecution, is the accused person here?”, Justice Umar who was looking directly at Saraki from his seat, queried.

Appearing for Saraki, Daudu Rotimi Jacob vehemently opposed the idea of Saraki entering the dock, relying on an Appeal Court decided case law in Igbeke vs FRN, 2015, 3 NWLR.

The tribunal entertained various arguments on whether or not Saraki should be compelled to enter the dock to answer to the
13-count criminal charge that was preferred against him by the federal government.

It was gathered that the various assets he acquired, which the Code of Conduct Bureau said his earnings did not qualify him to acquire, Saraki said he got them through his investment in rice farming.

He, therefore, pleaded not guilty to the charge concerning his failure to declare his assets when he was Kwara State Governor.

He also denied making false declaration of assets, saying he was just been told of the charges preferred against him. Swiftly, the prosecution said Saraki was not telling the truth of hearing the charges for the first time.

Dr. Saraki arrived the tribunal accompanied by about 50 senators and some members of the House of Representatives.

Senators that accompanied the Senate President include Theodore Orji, Sam Egwu, Ike Ekweremadu, Shaba Lafiaji, Aliyu Wamakko, Rafiu Ibrahim, Tayo Alasoadura, Hamma Misau, Samuel Anyanwu, Sabi Aliyu Abdullahi, among others.

As the trial continues, it is expected that it will witness tremendous legal crossfire and counter accusations by the defendants and prosecutions.

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