VIDEO: Buhari’s Government Is Corrupt, Says Saraki

 

Senate President Bukola Saraki says President Muhammadu Buhari’s government has lost its moral ground in the fight against corruption because of corrupt practices within the administration.

The Senate President in an exclusive interview with Channels Television’s Seun Okinbaloye said the Buhari-led government came in on a promise to oust corruption but have rather allowed a new set of corrupt officials to thrive.

Saraki said there is no way the present government can be speaking of integrity when it has “a member who has been found wanting, left without charge or prosecution”.

He said, in 2015 the Jonathan administration was ousted on three major promises which are: security, economic growth and the fight against corruption.

The lawmaker, however, opined that “Nigerians are not better off today than they were in 2015”.

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He said that Boko Haram insurgency has worsened, in that “more territories are being lost”.

Speaking about the economic situation in the country, the Senate President said: “creation of more jobs has failed”. He also added that Nigeria has dropped to a very disturbing position on the poverty chart.

Regarding the pace of the PDP campaign, Saraki said the steam has not fizzled out for the opposition party. He, however, noted that the environment has become very different and hostile under the All Progressives Congress.

He said, “the people are more on the edge because of the intolerance of the government”, citing the arrest of Deji Adeyanju.

The Senate President further noted that there is no issue within the PDP, arguing that the opposition presidential candidate has the full backing of all members and stands a great chance against President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Massive Fraud In The Oil Sector”

Saraki has alleged that there is massive fraud within the oil sector.

In an interview with Channels Television’s Seun Okinbaloye, the lawmaker said applying subsidy on assumption that Nigeria consumes fifty million litres (50million litres) of fuel a day, is fraudulent.

Saraki said in the Jonathan administration subsidy was based on an assumption that the nation consumes 30million litres of fuel daily.

He added that he and some other lawmakers warned that the Jonathan government was condoning corruption “by over importing fuel and because of that we were losing a lot of money”.

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The Senate President said the present government instead of changing the process, jerked up the importation by 20 million litres extra.

He said, “you would have thought that a government that was to fight corruption and prevent leakages would even if you are going to continue subsidy, ensure that it is better managed.”

Saraki said there is no way Nigerians can consume 50million litres a day, “it is just money being stolen,” he alleged.

He further argued that there is almost no way that President Muhammadu Buhari is not aware of what is going on within his government, stressing that the Senate has investigated the issue but “we have an environment where agencies of government are emboldened to disregard the National Assembly, it is a big issue”.

Saraki Says Govt. Must Sacrifice To Fix Power Sector

Saraki Says Govt. Must Sacrifice To Fix Power SectorThe Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki has criticized the privatisation of the power sector saying there was shoddy licensing of contracts to incompetent hands.

Speaking at a stakeholder’s dialogue in Abuja, he lamented how Nigeria has suffered from disruptions to its electricity supply for decades as successive governments struggled to improve the situation.

This dialogue at the instance of the National Assembly once again opened up the embedded issues.

The Senate President said that government has no road-map for the nation’s gas infrastructure and must now make sacrifices to transparently fulfil its part of the deal to boost the power sector.

He pledged the full support of the National Assembly to ease the sector’s challenges.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, had more questions begging for answers. He noted that it appeared the more resources committed to the sector, the more darkness.

Meanwhile, not oblivious of the challenges, the Minister of Power, Babatunde Fashola maintained that electricity is not cheap.

He urged speedy legislative interventions to enable the sector achieve the much desired growth.

Ondo APC Group Rejects State’s Ambassadorial Nominee

Ondo APC Group Rejects State's Ambassadorial NomineeThe nomination of Mr Igbekele Daudu as non-career ambassador from Ondo State has been rejected by a group within the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.

The group, Movement Against Imposition (MAI) alleged that Igbekele Daudu worked for the Alliance for Democracy in the last governorship election.

The Coordinator of the group in the State, Austin Pelemo, while addressing a press briefing in Akure, the state capital said President Mohammadu Buhari, party leader, Bola Tinubu and other leaders of the party must intervene in the issue.

Pelemo said: “A man that is known across the state to be a member of Alliance for Democracy can never be allowed to take a position that is meant for members of the APC.

“It is an act that must be resisted by all members of the APC in the state.

“A name came up yesterday as an ambassadorial designate from Ondo state, Jacobs Daudu. We later got to know that he is the same Igbekele Daudu, as we speak , Mr. Igbekele Daudu is not a member of the APC in the state” Pelemo said.

A leader of the group, Saka Yusuf Ogunleye alleged that Igbekele was involved in anti–party activities during the last governorship election in the state.

Yusuf said: “I am a member of the State Executive Committee of this party, Jacobs Daudu joined our great party one week to the presidential election, after serving six years in Governor Olusegun Mimiko administration.

“After the party primary, the man left for the AD, when President Buhari came here to canvass for vote for our governor–elect, Igbekele Daudu was with Olusola Oke canvassing for votes for him.

“We realized that there must be discipline in our party and that Jacob Daudu must be disciplined for anti-party activities and not that he should be compensated.

“In APC, we want to demonstrate to the whole world that we have discipline and that is why we will not allow this Igbekele’s nomination to stand.

“We are now appealing to the President, a man of discipline and high integrity, a leader of the party Muhammadu Buhari. We are also appealing to the National Chairman of our party, John Odigie Oyegun, National Leader of our party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki and the three Senators from Ondo State not to encourage indiscipline in our party”.

Alleged Senate Rules Forgery: Saraki, Others’ Trial Stalled

trial, senate president, deputyThe trial of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki , his deputy, Senator Ike Ekwerenmadu and two others, has yet again been stalled.

This follows the Federal Government’s failure to commence trial on the two counts of forgery proffered against them.

At the resumed hearing before the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Jabi, counsel to the Federal Government, Aliyu Umar told Justice Yusuf Halilu that he was not prepared to proceed with the trial.

According to him, a motion dated September 26, questioning the jurisdiction of the court, had just been served on him and he would need time to adequately respond.

Mr Umar, who led the Federal Government’s Legal Team, informed the court that the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation did not hand him any other motion related to the case.

But Justice Halilu pointed out to him that similar motions had been pending since June 22.

The Federal Government’s counsel consequently applied for an adjournment to enable him put his house in order and also to better prepare his reaction to the motion filed by all the defendants.

Senator Saraki and Senator Ekweremadu had pleaded not guilty to charges of alleged criminal conspiracy and forgery of the Senate Standing Rules, 2015.

The two Senate leaders had been arraigned before the Federal High Court along with a former Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Salisu Maikasuwa and his deputy, Mr Benedict Efeturi.

All four accused persons pleaded not guilty to the two-count charge.

The Court consequently granted bail to the accused persons.

Justice Halilu asked the them to produce two reasonable sureties who must be Nigerian men or women.

He stated that the sureties must own properties in Asokoro, Maitama, Wuse II or Garki areas in the Federal Capital Territory.

Economic Recession: Speaker Dogara Asks Nigerians To Be Patient

Dogara, Kano KillingThe Speaker of the House of Representatives in Nigeria, Mr Yakubu Dogara, has asked citizens to be patient and have unwavering confidence in the future of the nation’s economy which is in recession.

He reassured them that the Federal Government would find solutions to the current economic recession.

Nigeria’s economy had officially slipped into recession few weeks, after a report by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that the nation’s Gross Domestic Product contracted.

According to the report, the decline of 2.06% in the second quarter of 2016 has caused the Naira to get weaker while lower oil prices dragged the oil sector down.

The output shrunk by 0.36 in the first quarter.

During the quarter, nominal GDP was 2.73% higher at 23.48 million Naira at basic prices.

This growth was lower than the rate recorded in the second quarter of 2015 by 2.44% points.

Mr Dogara made the call in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital on Friday after a meeting with the Ogun State Governor, Mr Ibikunle Amosun, at the Government House in the state’s capital.

Reacting to the state of emergency on the economy by the Nigeria Governors Forum, the Speaker said that the forum was entitled to its opinion.

He told reporters that the members of the House of Representatives would soon come out with their own views on the economy.

Few days ago, the President of the Senate and the leader of the National Assembly, Senator Bukola Saraki, had assured Nigerians that the upper legislative chamber would continue to work towards ensuring that things get better for Nigerians.

Senator Bukola Saraki made the promise while addressing reporters after he joined President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, in Abuja, to observe Jumat service on September 9.

“We Will Overcome”

He appealed to Nigerians to bear with the administration, as it strives to bring the country out of the current economic recession.

“We will continue to appeal to Nigerians to bear. We know we are all going through difficult times.

“In every country, people go through challenges. But with prayers and support, we will overcome it.

“The most important thing is for us to stay together and give each other support and continue to believe in this great country,” he stated

Impeachment Threat On President Buhari, A Huge Joke – APC

APC, ImpeachmentThe National Secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has dismissed the purported plan by some senators to impeach President Buhari, describing it as “a huge joke”.

In a press statement by its National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni, the APC said, “This is a huge joke taken too far.”

The party advised the senators in question to “stop the ‘huge joke’ and concentrate on their primary constitutional responsibilities of lawmaking and discharging of their legislative mandates to their constituents at the National Assembly”, urging them not to allow political shenanigans becloud overall national interest.

“The Party will not to join issues on the Senate forgery suit and other court cases concerning some members of the 8th Senate because it will be sub judice.

“We advice the Senators in question to tow the same line and allow judicial processes run it normal and legitimate course.

“Repeated allegations that the court cases are politically-motivated by the President and the APC are baseless.

“The President Muhammadu Buhari administration strictly respects the principle of the Rule of Law and also adheres to the constitutional provisions of Separation of Power between the three arms of government,” the APC stated.

The party urged President Buhari and the entire cabinet to remain focused in its effort to deliver on election promises and to steer the nation to its deserved heights.

There had been media reports of an impeachment plot by some Senators on President Muhammadu Buhari during a closed session of the Senate on Tuesday, July 12, 2016.

Senate Threatens To Issue Warrant Of Arrest On AGF

Senate, Abubakar Malami, AGFThe Nigerian Senate has threatened to issue a warrant of arrest on the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Abubakar Malami.

The threat is coming weeks after the Senate summoned the Minister to explain the rationale behind his action on charging its principal officers to court over forgery.

Mr Malami shunned the call to appear before the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Human Rights. Although he sent a representative, the Committee refused to grant him audience.

The lawmakers condemned the Minister’s refusal to honour their invitation.

They said that the same rules of the Senate was used in the administration of its proceedings during the ministerial confirmation process which brought the AGF to office, as well as other top government officials.

Pleaded Not Guilty

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, were arraigned before Justice Yusuf Halilu of the Federal High Court along with a former Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Salisu Maikasuwa and his deputy, Mr Benedict Efeturi.Bukola-Saraki-Ike-Ekweremadu

All four accused persons, who were charged for alleged forgery of the Nigerian Senate Standing Rules, pleaded not guilty to the two-count charge.

Justice Halilu subsequently granted them bail and adjourned the proceedings till July 11 for commencement of trial.

Although they were present in court on Monday for the commencement of hearing, the Court Registrar informed the parties that the court was on vacation, hence the case would be adjourned.

Violation Of Separation Of Powers

In his reaction, Senator Saraki described the action by the AGF as misguided and alleged that there now exists a government within the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, who “have seized the apparatus of executive powers to pursue their nefarious agenda“.

He reiterated his innocence and that of Senator Ekweremadu of the charges, claiming that the charges represent a violation of the principle of the separation of powers between the executive and the legislature as enshrined in the nation’s constitution.

The Spokesman of the Senate, Aliyu Abdullahi, also noted that contrary to the claim by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Babachir Lawal, neither Dr. Saraki nor Senator Ekweremadu were mentioned by the petitioners, the statements by those interviewed by the Police or even the Police report.

He stated that as regards the facts of the 1999 case, it was obvious that the Senate President and his deputy were not being accused of certificate forgery as it happened in former Speaker Salisu Buhari’s case.

Saraki Alleges Persecution, FG Debunks Claims Says It Is ‘Mere Obfuscation’

Bukola-Saraki-Muhammadu-BuhariThe Presidency has dismissed the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki’s claim of having a government within a government that has seized the apparatus of the executive power as pretentious and imaginary.

The Presidency asked him to back his claim with more information by identifying those who constitute the government within the government.

As far as the Federal Government is concerned the Attorney General is the chief law officer of the state and it is within his constitutional power to determine who has infringed upon the law and who has not.

The Senate President had earlier reacted to his arraignment alongside his deputy at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja over alleged forgery of Senate standing rules.

Senator Bukola Saraki in a statement reiterated his innocence and that of his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu of the charges filed by the Attorney-General of the Federation.

The Senate President claimed that the charges represent a violation of the principle of the separation of powers between the executive and the legislature as enshrined in the nation’s constitution.

But according to the President’s media adviser, Mr Femi Adesina, “Pretending to carry an imaginary cross is mere obfuscation, if, indeed a criminal act has been committed, we leave the court to judge.”

Full Statement

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, claims there is “now a government within the government of President Buhari”, which has allegedly seized the apparatus of Executive powers to pursue a nefarious agenda.

This claim by Senator Saraki would have been more worth the while, if it had been backed with more information. If he had proceeded to identify those who constitute the “government within the government,” it would have taken the issue beyond the realm of fiction and mere conjecture.

But as it stands, the allegation is not even worth the paper on which it was written, as anybody can wake from a troubled sleep, and say anything.

The Attorney-General of the Federation is the Chief Law Officer of the state.  It is within his constitutional powers to determine who has infringed upon the law, and who has not.

Pretending to carry an imaginary cross is mere obfuscation, if, indeed, a criminal act has been committed.  But we leave the courts to judge.

To claim that President Muhammadu Buhari is anybody’s stooge is not only ridiculous, but also preposterous. It is not in the character of our President.

Alleged Senate Rules Forgery: Saraki Says Arraignment Is Misguided

Saraki, forgery,The Senate President has been reacting to his arraignment alongside his deputy at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja over alleged forgery of Senate standing rules.

In a statement personally signed by him, Senator Bukola Saraki reiterated his innocence and that of his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu of the charges filed by the Attorney-General of the Federation.

The Senate President claims that the charges represent a violation of the principle of the separation of powers between the executive and the legislature as enshrined in the nation’s constitution.

Senator Saraki describes the action by the Attorney General as misguided, and alleges that there now exists a government within the government of President Muhammadu Buhari who in his words “have seized the apparatus of executive powers to pursue their nefarious agenda.”

He added, “If yielding to the nefarious agenda of a few individuals who are bent on undermining our democracy and destabilizing the federal government to satisfy their selfish interests is the alternative to losing my personal freedom, let the doors of jails be thrown open and I shall be a happy guest.”

Presidency Reacts

Meanwhile, the Presidency in a quick response, dismissed Dr Saraki’s claim of having a government within a government that has seized the apparatus of the executive power as pretentious and imaginary.

The Presidency challenged him to back his claim with more information by identifying those who constitute the government within the government.

As far as the federal government is concerned the Attorney General is the chief law officer of the state and it is within his constitutional power to determine who has infringed upon the law and who has not.

According to the President’s media adviser Mr Femi Adesina, “Pretending to carry an imaginary cross is mere obfuscation, if, indeed a criminal act has been committed, we leave the court to judge.”

Alleged Senate Rules Forgery: Court Grants Saraki, Others Bail

Bukola Saraki, Senate, Ike EkweremaduA Federal High Court in Abuja has granted bail to the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, his Deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and the fourth defendant over charges of alleged forgery of the Nigerian Senate Standing Rules.

The decision was made on Monday when they appeared before the court.

The court asked the accused to produce two reasonable sureties who must be Nigerian men or women.

It stated that the sureties must own properties in Asokoro, Maitama, Wuse II or Garki areas in the Federal Capital Territory.

The trial judge, Justice Yusuf Halilu, said that the accused would be remanded in Kuje Prison, if they fail to meet the bail conditions.

The court has adjourned the proceedings till July 11 for commencement of trial.

The two Senate leaders were arraigned before the Federal High Court along with a former Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Salisu Maikasuwa and his deputy, Mr Benedict Efeturi.

Earlier, after the counsels to the accused had announced their appearances and told the court that they had filed bail applications, the trial judge asked them to put them forward.

Presenting a bail application, the lawyer to the first accused person, Mr Maikasuwa, said that the application was supported by a written address which formed his argument in the application and a two-paragraph affidavit sworn to by the accused person.

He argued that the accused person would not interfere with investigation, insisting that there were no facts to back the claim that he would jump bail.

Mr Maikasuwa’s counsel also reminded the court that the prosecution had said in his affidavit before the court that investigations had been concluded.

The counsel to Mr Efeturi also brought forward a six-paragraph affidavit and urged the court to grant the accused bail.

He also said he had filed a written address, requesting that the court should grant bail in the most liberal terms.

On his part, the counsel to the Senate President, Mr Paul Erukoro, said his application was supported by a 28-paragraph affidavit.

He also said he had a further affidavit sworn by the 3rd accused person.

“The entire proof of service does not contain a single reference to the Senate President in connection with the charges. He was never invited during investigation. So, saying he will interfere with the investigation is unfounded especially as the prosecuting says investigations have been concluded.

“It is a notorious fact that the Senate President has been standing trial at the CCT (Code of Conduct Tribunal) and has been consistent in his attendance there, so there is no way he will not attend the trial,” he told the court.

He also pointed out that Senator Saraki is the Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that there was no way he would jump bail.

He requested that bail should be granted on self-recognisance.

Counsel to the deputy Senate President, Mr Jacobs Daudu, also said his client was not mentioned anywhere in the proof of evidence and that he should be granted bail on self-recognisance.

He stressed that the spirit of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) was that bail would be such that the accused persons could be able to attend trial.

The counsel to the Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly said he had also submitted a six-paragraph affidavit, urging the court to grant his client bail.

He also told the court that he had filed a written address, urging the court to grant bail in the most liberal terms.

The accused persons claimed that they were ready for the trial. They asked the court to start the hearing and take as many as they could of the prosecution witness.

On his part, the prosecutor, Mr Mohammed Diri, however, said he would not oppose the bail of the Senate President on whatever terms the court deemed fit, because he is the number three citizen, and opposing bail may disrupt the business of the Senate.

He, however, said that in respect of the other three accused – one, two and four – the prosecution would vehemently oppose bail.

According to him, the two-count charge brought against the three defendants was very serious, something that required caution in handling of bails.

The charge attracts a 14-year jail term.

He also said that the three defendant’s evaded service of processes until the court granted an order of substituted service.

“This means that if they are granted bail the three defendant’s will attempt to evade trial,” he stressed.

He further referred to section 162 subsection of the Administration Of Criminal Justice Act and told the court that the charges were the same for all the accused persons, but stated that he understood the political undertone of omitting the Senate President.

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

After listening to both parties, the judge stated that he had considered the applications and counter affidavits, soldering on the written addresses.

He told the court that the essence of bail was to ensure the “liberty of an accused person who is considered innocent until proven guilty and ensure his attendance to trial”.

“The decision to grant bail is at the discretion of the court which should be granted judicially and judiciously, following laid down constitution in respect of the nature of offence.

“Indeed I have considered and soldered the applications and counters filed.

“The provisions of the ACJA lends support that an accused person shall be granted bail to enable him attend trial.

“I have listened to the position of the prosecution on the third defendant – Senator Saraki – and it is only fair and natural that an accused person, who is contoured innocent, shall be given opportunity to prepare for their trial.

“I shall not unnecessarily over flog the position they occupy,” he said, once again listing their positions at the National Assembly.

Justice Halilu further stressed that the applications for bail conditions sideline the arguments of their lawyers for all the defendants regardless of the swaying positions of the prosecution.

“I shall allow the one, two and four accused to go home on bail on the conditions that two reasonable sureties who must be Nigerians – men or women – who must own properties in Asokoro Maitama Wuse two or Garki.

“Failure to fulfil the bail conditions, they shall be remanded in Kuje Prison,” he stressed.

The judge then adjourned the proceedings till July 11 for commencement of trial.

Saraki, Ekweremadu Plead Not Guilty To Alleged Senate Rules Forgery Charges

Bukola-Saraki-Ike-EkweremaduNigeria’s Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu have pleaded not guilty to charges of alleged criminal conspiracy and forgery of the Senate Standing Rules, 2015.

The two Senate leaders are being arraigned before the Federal High Court along with a former Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Salisu Maikasuwa and his deputy, Mr Benedict Efeturi.

All four accused persons pleaded not guilty to the two-count charge.

After their pleas, the prosecutor asked for a date to open his case.

However, the counsel to the first accused person and all other accused persons have made an application for bail.

The prosecutor said he had been served with the applications, but stressed that he had filed an affidavit in respect of that. However his clerk is still trying to file the counter affidavit.

He asked for a one hour stand down to be able to collect the documents.

The parties said they were reluctantly conceding to a stand down for one hour.

Earlier, before the proceeding started, the trial judge, Justice Yusuf Halilu, tried to organise the court, by asking supporters of the accused persons to vacate their seats so that lawyers could seat.

Justice Halilu also asked journalists and lawyers to leave the court.

He said names of persons that would be allowed in would be called.

Lawmakers supporting the Senate President are also locked outside the court.

The judge, however, said he was not asking anyone to leave but was just trying to organise his court.

He further appealed to everyone to do their best to represent themselves and the law well and asked journalists to ensure that they record exactly what the court said.

Minutes after his statements, the court opened and the lawyers started announcing their appearances.

Mahmud Magaji said he was counsel to the first and second defendants – the former clerk of the National Assembly and the current clerk of the National Assembly.

Another lawyer, Ikechukwu Ezechukwu, however, claimed he was counsel to the first defendant.

After he made the claim, Mr Magaji withdrew his appearance for the first defendant, a decision that the trial judge said was contrary to what was in the document before him.

Mr Magaji, however, insisted that he could withdraw his representation for the first defendant and allow the new lawyer take over.

Mr Paul Erukoro is counsel to the Senate President, while Mr Joseph Daudu is counsel to the deputy Senate President.

After their announcements, the prosecutor, Mohammed Diri, told the court that the case was for arraignment on a two-count charge of forgery filed on 10 June.

He reminded the court that a sworn affidavit and the list of witnesses and summary of statements of the accused persons had been submitted.

Mr Diri asked the court to deem the case as filed.

He also urged the court to order that the two-count charge be read to the accused persons for the purposes of taking their plea.

All counsels, however, made a no objection plea.

In the affidavit filed on June 10, the Investigative Police Officer (IPO), swore that the investigation into the case had been concluded.

The affidavit read: “The charges filed through the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, by the Federal Government, against the senators reads that you, Salisu Abubakar Maikasuwa, Benedict Efeturi, Dr. Olubukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu, on or about, the 9th of June, 2015, at the National Assembly complex, Three Arms Zone, Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this court, conspired amongst yourselves to forge the Senate Standing Order, 2011 (as amended) and you thereby committed the offence of conspiracy, punishable under Section 97 (1) of the Penal Code Law”.

It also accused them of allegedly forging the Order, causing it to be believed as the genuine Standing Order, 2015 and circulated same for use during the inauguration of the 8th Senate of the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Senator Saraki has maintained that he knows nothing about how the rules adopted in the inauguration of the Eighth Senate on June 9, 2015 was formulated.

He said the on-going efforts to drag him into a case of forgery before the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, was just another phase in the orchestrated persecution he has faced since he emerged as Senate President a little over a year ago.

Saraki, in a statement by his spokesman, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, stated that he was not a part of the leadership of the 7th Senate that made the rules in question and prior to his unanimous election as Senate President on June 9, 2015, he was merely a Senator-elect like all his colleagues and therefore was not in a position to influence the rules that were to be used in the conduct of the election.

Saraki’s Trial: Witness Admits His Team Did Not Investigate Exhibits

SarakiThe trial of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) resumes on Tuesday.

At Tuesday’s hearing the chief prosecution witness, Mr Micheal Wekpas, during cross-examination 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.

Tuesday’s session comes a day after the first prosecution witness alleged that the defendant failed to declare houses in the United Kingdom, as well as the upscale areas of Ikoyi, Lagos and Abuja.

The witness, Mr Michael Wetkas, an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), was led in evidence by the lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN).

He gave the names of various companies allegedly operated by the Senate President while he was the Governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011.

The prosecution witness tendered the Senate President’s asset declaration form for the year 2011 as exhibit, with the defence counsel reserving its objection to a later date.

Earlier in the trial, the Chairman of the CCT, Mr Danladi Umar had declared that he would not suspend the trial of the Senate President to allow the Senate to continue sitting since the red chamber was not on trial before the tribunal.

Dr Saraki is facing a 13-count charge of alleged false declaration of asset while he was Governor of Kwara State.