Supreme Court Dismisses False Assets Declaration Charges Against Saraki

The Supreme Court on Friday cleared Senate President, Bukola Saraki, of the alleged false asset delaration charges against him.
The federal government had charged Saraki with false assets declaration at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) since 2015
But the CCT had set him free on grounds that the federal government was unable to prove its case.
The 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.
Not satisfied, the federal government approached the Appeal Court in Abuja. However, the appellate court in its judgment discharged Saraki of 15 of the 18 count charges and ordered him to open its defense on three charges, adding that primanfacie was established against him on counts 4,5 and 6.
The appellate referred the case back to CCT for trial. But Saraki approached the apex court.
The apex court in its judgment delivered Friday by Justice Centus Chima Nweze, set aside the decision of the Appea Courtl and affirmed the decision of the CCT.
Delivering judgment on the appeal, the apex court held that the prosecution failed to call material witnesses to support its case against the Senate President.
The court agreed that all those who have knowledge of facts were not called to testify 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.
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 prima facie case was established against Saraki in 3 out of the 18 count charges.
Justice Nweze held that there was no basis for the appellate courtl to have asked Saraki to defend himself on the three charges having found the entire evidence of the prosecution as a product of hearsay, adding that the action of the Appeal Court amounted to forensic summersault and capable of making mockery of jurisprudence.
“This court will not lend its jurisdiction to such a charade and caricature of justice. It carries grave error in holding that a prima facie 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 prima facie 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.
Consequently, the court dismissed the entire 18 count charges brought against Saraki, discharged and acquitted him accordingly.

Author: News Editor

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