CCT Adjourns Trial Of Senate President Saraki Again

Bukola Saraki, Senate President, CCTThe trial of Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, for alleged false declaration of assets at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Abuja, has been adjourned till Wednesday, June 15, 2016.

The tribunal adjourned hearing to give Dr. Saraki’s lead counsel, Kanu Agabi, time to see his physician for routine medical examination.

The prosecution had objected Mr Kanu Agabi’s request for an adjournment to allow him see his doctor.

Lead Prosecution Counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, said that the court should finish with the cross-examination of its witness Mr. Wetkas this week as planned but the court resolved to give Mr Agabi one week to attend to his health.

“This matter had to be adjourned because of the prevailing exigencies.

“I will let the counsel see his doctors, take his medication and have some rest,” the CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar said.

Prior to the adjournment, hearing had resumed with the prosecution witness, Mr Micheal Wetkas still under cross-examination.

The focus of the trial was on count 6, which relates to the ownership of a property which is in the Maitama area of Abuja.

During cross-examination on May 25, Mr Wetkas agreed that the property was acquired in 1993 and was transferred to Carlisle Properties and Investment Limited in 2003 but later retracted his statement, saying he did not know when the property was transferred.

Beneficial Ownership

As the cross-examination continued on Tuesday, he was asked if he ascertained the owner of number 1 Targus Street, Maitama, he said that what he was interested in was the ownership of the property which turned out to belong to Carlisle Properties and Investment Limited and that the beneficiary of the property was the Senate President.

He was asked to explain what he meant by beneficial ownership and Wetkas said that he was not a lawyer but that what he knew was that it is the person who benefits from the financial activities of a corporation.

Asked if Government is a beneficiary, Mr Wetkas initially said no and later said yes.

He was then told to read the content of page 129 of exhibit 21 and he read that it was an acknowledgement receipt of ground levy paid by Carlisle Properties and Investment Limited.

He was then told to define his job as an EFCC operative, and he said it is to investigate and establish financial crimes committed.

Explaining his role in the Senate President’s case, he said he had earlier stated that his investigation started with financial misconduct and then dovetailed into non-declaration of assets.

When asked if he looked out for any financial crimes in this situation, his counsel interjected that this was not a relevant question.

However, defence counsel, Paul Usoro, said that Section 7 and 8 of Evidence Act says that when an issue is stated as fact in the case it has to be established if there is an economic crime the company has committed.

The prosecutor insisted that the questions were irrelevant and that they have been so for the past 12 days of sitting.

The defence counsel Mr Usoro took exception but Mr Rotimi Jacobs said the questioning was going in a manner that suggests Carlisle was being charged.

Nevertheless, cross-examination continued and the witness was again asked if they investigated Carlisle for fraud.

He said Carlisle was used to find the ownership of the property but that his investigation was basically on the ownership of the property and not whether there was fraud.

Count 7

Next he was taken to count 7 and was asked to read but the Chairman refused him reading it.

Mr Usoro read it instead, “By your failure to declare number 3 Targus Street which you acquired through your company Carlisle properties and investment you have committed a crimes against the Code of Conduct Act.”

Wetkas was asked if the defendant acquired the said property, the witness said yes but through his company Carlisle Properties and Investment Limited.

He was also asked if the charge said he failed to declare it in 2003, the witness said yes.

When also asked if count 8 is identical with count 7, he said yes but that the date of declaration was different because count 8 talks about 2007 while count 9 is also similar but talks about the non-declaration of the property in 2011.

Loans

Mr Wetkas was then asked to go to exhibit 21 which is the letter from FCDA to EFCC on the properties in 1 and 3 Targus Street. He was also asked to identify the power of attorney.

He said it was made ten years before the defendant became Governor of Kwara and ten years before he made exhibit 1 which was his asset in 2003.

Mr Wetkas maintained his position that Carlisle was used to purchase the property and the defendant is the owner of Carlisle.

When asked if all the answers he gave on count 6 with regards to Carlisle Properties and Investment Limited applies to count 7, 8 and 9 the witness said yes.

He, however, said that the two properties are residential properties that is number 1 and 3 Targus Street and that loans were taken by Skyview from a commercial bank to guarantee the properties – one was 1.8 billion Naira and the other was over 700 million Naira.

“When we interviewed the MD of Skyview company, he said that the transactions were at the instance of the defendant, and that is what formed our position on the ownership of the property,” Wetkas said.

Usoro asked the witness if he was there when the defendant purportedly gave the directive, he said no.

When asked if he contacted the defendant on count 7, 8, and 9, the witness said no.

Alleged False Asset Declaration: Absence Of Witness Stalls Continuation Of Saraki’s Trial

Bukola-Saraki-President-National-Assembly-NigeriaThe trial of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) over alleged false assets declaration was on Wednesday stalled due to the absence of prosecution witness, Michael Wetkas.

The trial, which was supposed to continue did not hold following a letter by the prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Jacobs indicating that the chief witness, Mr Micheal Wetkas, will be testifying at another case.

No date has been set for the continuation of the trial.

The Senate President is standing trial for alleged falsification of asset.

Alleged Declaration Of Assets: CCT Adjourns Saraki’s Trial Till May 10

Bukola-Saraki-Senate-president-Nigeria_The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has adjourned till May 10, 2016 the trial of Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.

The Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar had on Thursday ruled and accepted an amended 16 count charge filed by the prosecution against the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.

This prompted counsel to the Senate President to take a fresh plea on the charges being raised.

The trial of Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, for alleged false asset declaration, continued on Thursday with the prosecution asking to replace the former charge against the Senate President with new charges.

This came up just after the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar, dismissed the application filed by Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki seeking Umar’s withdrawal from his trial, holding that the application lacks absolute merit.

Cross examination of prosecution witness, Mr Micheal Wetkas, by the defence counsel was about to begin when the prosecution asked to withdraw the former charge against the Senate President and requested the leave of the court to enable him read the amended charges to the Senate President.

The former charge was filed on October 18, 2015 and Mr Jacobs asked the court to accept the new charges, dated April 27, 2016 as the case against the Senate President.

Not Guilty

The senate president, doctor Bukola saraki has pleaded not guilty pleaded not guilty to an amended sixteen count charges  of  alleged false declaration of asset filed against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

The Senate President was first charged in September 2015 for alleged false and anticipatory declaration of assets.

The two charges read, “That you on or about September 16, 2013 within the jurisdiction of this honorable tribunal did make a false declaration in the asset declaration form for public officers which you filled and submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau upon assumption of office as the Governor of kwara State in the year 2003 by your failure to declare your leasehold interest in number 42, Remi Fani-kayode street, Ikeja, Lagos, which you acquired through your company, Skyview Properties Limited from first Finance Trust Limited on December 12, 1996 and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(1)(2) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act. CAP. C15, laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004 and as incorporated under paragraph 11(1) (2), I fifth schedule to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and punishable under section 23(2) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act as incorporated under paragraph 18, Part I of the fifth schedule to the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).”, it read

“That you between June 2011 and October 2013, within the jurisdiction of this honorable tribunal, did receive monthly salaries or emoluments as governor of kwara state and at the same time, from the federal government as a senator of the federal republic of Nigeria and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 6(a) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act. CAP. C15, laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004 and as incorporated under paragraph 2(a), Part I of the, fifth schedule to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and punishable under section 23(2) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and tribunal act as incorporated under paragraph 18, Part I of the fifth schedule to the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).”

 

Alleged False Declaration Of Assets: CCT Continues Day-To-Day Trial Of Saraki

dr-bukola-sarakiThe trial of Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, over charges of alleged false declaration of assets has commenced.

The trial of the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, was stood down to accommodate the Senat President’s trial.

Though counsel to Orubebe complained, he was over ruled by the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Justice Danladi Umar.

Parties to the case announced their appearance before the cross examination of the Chief prosecution witness, Mr Michael Wekpas began.

The witness was told to go through some of the exhibits he tendered as evidence and he confirmed that his investigation of the defendant’s GTB account shows there are transfers to a foreign account.

He also confirmed that there are several telex transfers on the account, some of which are before the Tribunal as exhibits.

According to him, all the telex the investigating team requested were on almost all the debit transactions consummated on that particular account which showed that the defendant gave instructions for a “tea transfer”.

He further maintained that the investigation team had no doubt that the transaction was made to the American Express Bank in Europe, because the debit on the account of the defendant was done and the narration was clear on why and where the money was transferred to.

He added that the prosecution team further requested for additional information and evidence to show proof of the transaction and several of the instructions and telex were provided by the bank .

He, however, noted that that there is an affidavit and police statement to show that some of the documents and telex were burnt, hence his inability to tender them as evidence.

According to him, he is still flipping through to see if the telex that relates to count 11 of the charges was one of the ones the bank said was burnt and that they couldn’t provide, insisting that the transfer was effected.

This is the second day of trial since the Chairman of the Tribunal ruled that the hearing will now be on a day-to-day from 10:00am to 6:00pm.

Mr Wekpas has on Tuesday admitted that neither he nor his team investigated some of the exhibits he had tendered before the Tribunal.

Mr Wekpas, who is an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Kanu Agabi, told the court he did not investigate the petitions, whose exhibits were tendered before the court.

He said that even though his investigation stemmed from an intelligence report obtained by the EFCC, he did not have the report, neither was the report before the Tribunal.

The witness was first questioned on exhibit 11, 12, and 13, which were petitions written by a group known as Kwara Freedom Network, inviting the EFCC to investigate the Kwara State Universal Basic Education Board and borrowings for projects.

Mr Wekpas, who had earlier told the Tribunal that the petition formed the bases of his team’s investigation, however, said he did not investigate the petition, rather another team carried out the investigation.

When asked why he tendered documents he did not investigate, the witness said he carried out the directive of the prosecution.

Also under cross-examination, the witness admitted that investigating the assets declaration of the Senate President did not form part of his schedule of duty.

He explained that three exhibits, which were assets declaration forms of the defendant, were duly examined and stamped by the Code of Conduct Bureau when the documents were shown to him

Mr Wekpas said there was nowhere in the petition that they investigated ‎where Saraki’s asset declaration was in contention.

He said the investigation of the defendant was based on intelligence report obtained by the former Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde and not the three petitions tendered as exhibits and that such intelligence was either provided orally or produced in writing by people who asked to remain anonymous.

The witness stated that the six assets declaration forms submitted by Senator Saraki to the Code of Conduct Bureau were not investigated by his team.

He, however, said his team was directed to investigate the intelligence report alone.

According to him, the intelligence report is not before the Tribunal as exhibit.

Attempt by the prosecution to seek for a long adjournment to enable it study the documents tendered as exhibits was rejected by the Tribunal.

The defence is expected to continue the cross examination of the witness on Wednesday.

CCT Reschedules Saraki’s Hearing To March 11

Bukola-SarakiThe Chairman, Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Danladi Yakubu Umar, on Tuesday acceded to the request of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, to reschedule the hitherto fixed March 10 to March 11 for hearing.

This was contained in a letter signed by counsel to Dr Saraki, Kanu G. Agabi (SAN), forwarded to the Tribunal, dated February 26, 2016, with the heading Re: charge No. CCT/ABJ/01/2015- FRN V Dr Olubukola Abubakar Saraki, addressed to the Chief Registrar of the CCT.

The letter states ‘‘I write as lead Counsel to the above Defendant to apply that the matter which is now scheduled to come up on the 10th day of March 2016, subject to the convenience of the Honourable Tribunal and learned Counsel for the prosecution, be taken on the 11th day of March, 2016, due to my earlier and urgent commitments in other courts on the 10th.

‘‘I will sincerely appreciate the indulgence of the Tribunal to accommodate me in this way, it added.

He ended by apologising for the inconvenience caused to the Honourable Tribunal and other learned Counsel.

Senate To Investigate CCT Chairman

CCTThe Senate is to begin investigating allegations of corruption levelled against the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Mr Danladi Umar.

The Senate took the decision to commence the investigation after a federal lawmaker, Senator  Obinna Ogba, submitted a petition on behalf of a group, the Anti-Corruption Network which made the allegations against the CCT Chairman.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, referred the petition to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions for legislative work.

The same group had submitted a petition to the House of Representatives against the CCT Chairman over similar allegations.

The Chairman of CCT, Mr Danladi, is currently hearing a case of false asset declaration against the Senate President, Dr.‎ Bukola Saraki.

 

Lagos High Court Dismisses Saraki’s Application

Bukola-Saraki-Appeals-CCT-trialThe Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has struck out a fundamental human rights application filed by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, seeking to stop his trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Abuja.

Presiding Justice Ibrahim Buba held that his court did not have jurisdiction to entertain the application.

The Senate President had sued the Attorney-General of the Federation, the EFCC, ICPC, the Inspector-General of Police and the Code of Conduct Bureau.

In the suit, Senator Saraki asked the court to declare that his arraignment and trial before the CCT fall short of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right and Section 36 of the Nigerian Constitution which guarantees his right to fair hearing and personal liberty.

He also asked the court to nullify the charges of false assets declaration pending against him.

The Senate President also wanted the court to restrain the respondents from inviting, arresting or prosecuting him on the basis of any allegation arising from his tenure as Governor of Kwara State from 2003 -2011.to

The court said that the issues could  not be resolved in Lagos and struck out the suit for lack of jurisdiction.

Lawyers Withdraw From CCT Trial

On Thursday, all lawyers representing the Senate President on charges leveled against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) withdrew from the case.

Their withdrawal followed the ruling of the Code of Conduct Tribunal to continue trial, a decision, which the lawyers described as “judicial rascality”.

The Tribunal had based its ruling on the strength of Section 305 of the administration of Criminal Justice Act which says that ‘a trial can be concluded and ruling reserved until all questions about the trial are answered’.

Dr. Saraki then asked for a month to reconstitute his defence but lawyer to the Federal Government kicked against it saying that it was another way for the Senate President to “get what he wants”.

The Tribunal, however, ruled that it would give the Senate President one week to reconstitute his legal team.

The CCT has adjourned till November 19.

Supreme Court Appeal

The decision of the High Court in Lagos on Friday came three days after Dr Saraki filed an appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which on October 30 affirmed the jurisdiction of the Code of Conduct Tribunal to try him on 13 counts of false assets declaration.

Senator Saraki also filed an application for stay of proceedings urging the Supreme Court to halt the proceedings of the Code of conduct Tribunal to try him for the alleged offences pending when his appeal would be determined.

Saraki’s Lawyers Withdraw From CCT Trial

saraki

All lawyers representing the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on charges leveled against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) have withdrawn from the case.

Their withdrawal follows the ruling of the Code of Conduct Tribunal to continue trial, a decision which the lawyers describe as “judicial rascality”.

The Tribunal had based its ruling on the strength of Section 305 of the administration of Criminal Justice Act which says that a trial can be concluded and ruling reserved until all questions about the trial are answered.

Dr. Saraki then asked for a month to reconstitute his defence but lawyer to the federal government kicked against it saying that it was another way for the Senate President to “get what he wants”.

The tribunal, however, ruled that it would give the Senate President one week to reconstitute his legal team.

The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has adjourned till November 19.

Earlier, counsel to the government , Mr Rotimi Jacobs, had notified the tribunal that the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal had in a judgment it delivered on October 30, dismissed Dr. Saraki’s appeal against his trial.

However, the Senate President through his lawyer, Mr. Mahmud Magaji (SAN), urged the tribunal to adjourn the trial and await the decision of the appeal he has lodged before the Supreme C‎ourt.

The Senate President had appealed the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which on October 30 affirmed the jurisdiction of the CCT to try him on 13 counts of false assets declaration.

Senator Saraki also filed an application for stay of proceedings urging the Supreme Court to halt the proceedings of the Code of Conduct Tribunal to try him for the alleged offences pending when his appeal would be determined.

The Senate President raised seven grounds of appeal in his notice of appeal filed on Tuesday and attached to the application for stay of proceedings.

Dr Saraki urged the Supreme Court to set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal, the entire proceedings of the CCT and the charges preferred against him before the Tribunal.

Mr. Saraki was arraigned September 18, but pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted bail.

Judgement In Saraki’s Appeal Adjourned Indefinitely 

sarakiJudgement in the suit instituted by Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, against the Code of Conduct Tribunal has been adjourned indefinitely at the Appeal Court in Abuja.

The Registrar of the Court of Appeal, who made the announcement on Monday, gave no reason for the decision.

Dr. Bukola Saraki had filed an appeal challenging the legality of his arraignment at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

In the appeal argued by his counsel, Mr Joseph Daudu (SAN), the Senate President asked the appellate court to set aside the proceeding of the Code of Conduct Tribunal held in September.

He asked the court to set aside the criminal charges of false declaration of assets, filed against him by the Federal Government.

Saraki also challenged the composition of the Code of Conduct Tribunal which has only two members instead of three, adding that since the tribunal did not sit in compliance with the constitutional provision of three members, his arraignment should be declared invalid.

 

Appeal Court To Decide Saraki’s Fate On Monday

court-gavelThe Court of Appeal will on Monday, October 19, deliver judgment in an appeal filed by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, challenging the legality of his arraignment at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

In the appeal argued by his counsel Mr Joseph Daudu (SAN), the Senate President asked the appellate court to set aside the proceeding of the Code of Conduct Tribunal held last month.

He asked the court to set aside the criminal charges of false declaration of assets, filed against him by the Federal Government.

He also challenged the composition of the Code of Conduct Tribunal which has only two members instead of three, adding that since the tribunal did not sit in compliance with the constitutional provision of three members, his arraignment should be declared invalid.

Objecting to the appeal, counsel to the Federal Government, Mr Rotimi Jacob (SAN), asked the court of appeal to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.

He told the court, presided over by Justice Moore Adumein, that the constitution was silent on the composition of the panel of the code of conduct tribunal eligible to hear a suit, hence the issue of quorum does not arise.

Code Of Conduct Tribunal Adjourns Sitting Till 21st October

Bukola-Saraki-Senate-president-president-in-NigeriaThe Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) hearing the trial of Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, over alleged false declaration of assets during his tenure as Governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011 has been adjourned till the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of October, 2015.

Senator Saraki was docked earlier on Tuesday at the CCT after a short argument between the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) and the defence counsel, Joseph Daudu (SAN), who was insisting that the day’s sitting was not for the taking pleas.

After Dr. Saraki took the dock, the 13-count charge was read to him and he pleaded not guilty.

The Senate President told the tribunal, in his opening remarks that he is a firm believer in the rule of law.

Before today, Dr Saraki had given the assurance of his appearance after protracted arguments between his lawyers and the prosecution counsel over the jurisdiction of the Code of Conduct Tribunal sitting over allegations of false asset declaration.

His spokesman, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, had said in a statement attributed his absence from the tribunal to the legal advice he received from his counsel, that it is not necessary for him to appear before the tribunal at this stage.

Code Of Conduct Tribunal Adjourns Sitting Till Tuesday

Danladi_UmarThe Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) sitting on the trial of Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, over alleged false declaration of assets has adjourned sitting to 10:00AM on Tuesday, September 22.

The counsel to the Senate President, Joseph Daudu said that the CCT is not properly constituted, arguing that it must be made of the Chairman and two members.

Mr. Daudu noted that the tribunal is at present made up of the Chairman and a member.

The Chairman of the Tribunal, Danladi Umar, on his part maintained that the tribunal is properly constituted.

Dr. Saraki is facing a 13-count charge bordering on alleged corruption and false declaration of assets, levelled against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).

Meanwhile, the tribunal has renewed its orders on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to produce Senator Saraki at the resumed hearing on Tuesday.