Supreme Court discharges Saraki of alleged false asset declaration charges

Supreme Court discharges Saraki of alleged false asset declaration charges
Chris Steven, Abuja

The Supreme Court has discharged Bukola Saraki, the Senate President  from the alleged false asset delaration charges against him by the federal government.

The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) had in its judgment discharged Saraki of all 18 count charges on grounds that the prosecution failed to prove its allegations beyond reasonable doubt.

The apex court in its judgment delivered on Friday by Justice Centus Chima Nweze, set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal and affirmed the decision of the  CCT which had earlier upheld the no case submission of Saraki’s counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi SAN.

The supreme court said the Court of Appeal made caricature in its judgment when it found as a fact that the entire evidence adduced by the prosecution was hearsay and manifestly unreliable and still went ahead to agree that primafacie case was established against Saraki in 3 out of the 18 count charges.

However, the appellate court in its judgment discharged Saraki of 15 of the 18 count charges and ordered him to open its defense on 3 charges, adding that primafacie was established against him on counts 4,5$6.

But delivering judgment on Saraki’s appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal, the apex court held that the prosecution failed to call material witnesses to support its case against the Senate President.

Justice Nweze held that there was no basis for the Court of Appeal to have asked Saraki to defend himself on the 3 count charges having found the entire evidence of the prosecution as a product of hearsay, adding that the action of the Court of  Appeal amounted to forensic Summersault and capable of making Ill of jurisprudence.

The court agreed that all those who have knowledge of facts were not called to testified in the matter, besides the court also held that those who tendered documentary evidence against Saraki during the trial were not makers of the document and hence their evidence on the documents were hearsay and lacked probative value.

“This court will not lend its jurisdiction to such a charade and caricature of justice. It carries grave error in holding that a primafacie case has been established against the appellant”, the court held.

“The prosecution is duty bound by law to call all key witnesses to be able to establish primafacie case against anybody”, it added.

In all the 5-panel of the apex court in the unanimous judgment agreed that the failure of the Federal government to call vital witnesses in the trial of Saraki was fatal and rendered the trial nugatory.

The court therefore dismissed the entire 18 count charges brought against Saraki, discharged and acquitted him accordingly.