Supreme court upholds Saraki’s appeal

Discharges him of alleged false assets declaration charges THE Supreme Court has discharged the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, from the alleged false assets delaration charges brought against him by the Federal government. The court in a judgment delivered yesterday by Justice Centus Chima Nweze, set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal and affirmed the decision of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), which had earlier upheld the No-case Submission filed by Saraki’s counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), on his behalf. The CCT had discharged Saraki of all the 18-count charge on grounds that the prosecution failed to substantiate its allegations beyond reasonable doubt. But not satisfied with the judgement, the prosecution filed an appeal. On its own, the appellate court discharged Saraki of 15 out of the 18-count charges and ordered him to open its defense on the remaining three charges. The court held that prima-facie case was established against him on counts four, five and six. But delivering judgment on Saraki’s appeal yesterday, the apex court held that the prosecution has failed to call material witnesses to support its case against Saraki. It also agreed that all those who have knowledge of facts were not called to testified in the matter, and that those who tendered documentary evidence against Saraki during the trial were not makers of the document. “Hence, their evidence on the documents were hearsay and lacked probative value”, the court held. The supreme court stated that 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 three out of the 18 charges. Justice Nweze held that there was no basis for the Court of Appeal to have asked Saraki to defend himself on the three count-charge, having found the entire evidence of the prosecution as a product of hearsay. The apex court further described the action of the Court of Appeal amounted to forensic summersault and capable of making ill 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 primafacie case against anybody”, it added. The entire panel comprising five wise men of the apex court unanimously adopted the judgment, and 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 thereafter dismissed the entire 18-count charges brought against Saraki. It consequently discharged and acquitted him accordingly.

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