Following Senate President Bukola Saraki’s acquittal at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the Federal Government’s early reaction was one of relentlessness. “Our head is bruised but it is unbowed” were the words of the Special Assistant to the President on prosecution, Okoi Obono-Obla and they did follow through with an 11-ground notice of appeal.
The notice of appeal read in part, “The learned members of the tribunal, in their consideration of no-case submission, failed in their duty to look at the offences charged, the ingredients of the offence and the evidence adduced by the prosecution before upholding the respondent’s no-case submission.”
Saraki’s team released a lengthy statement today stating that the senate president is “unperturbed by the development” (development in this context means FG’s appeal notice). The statement contained boastful remarks that may be otherwise be considered as “confident”, finger pointing and a few clarifications on the concept of corruption.
Here are five things we learned from the statement:
Senator Saraki has enemies in the government and they will stop at nothing to see him go down
Dr. Saraki continues to wonder how desperate some people in government and their collaborators outside have become to pull him down at all cost and by all means up to the point that they do not care if they destroy the institution of the judiciary in the process. That is why they sponsored stories of allegation of bribery in an online publication against the Tribunal judges.
2. Saraki has been accused of paying a $2million bribe to CCT Chairman Danladi Umar and he’s not afraid to be investigated
The Senate President seizes this opportunity to call on security agencies to immediately commence investigation on this bribery allegation. It is his views that those who made the allegation should be invited to substantiate their claims.
3. Saraki calls out Professor Itse Sagay for interfering in the trial
This same desperation made a man like Prof. Itse Sagay, the Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Anti-Corruption (PACAC) to appear on tape admitting in a foreign country that he interfered with the process in the Tribunal when in an unethical manner he was instructing the judge on how to conduct the trial. Corruption is not just about giving or diverting money. When an official interferes with the judicial process with a view to achieve personal objectives, that is corruption.
4. He named the EFCC as a culprit too
The prosecution counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, who in collusion with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) sought to manipulate evidence at the tribunal. On realising the fundamental flaw in its case as it did not invite the defendant to make any statement at any point in the investigation, the prosecution brought in an agent of the EFCC to tender old statements Saraki made in a totally different and unrelated matter that had nothing to do with false asset declaration. The prosecution forgot that the letter inviting Saraki to make the tendered statements explicitly mentioned the matter being investigated. At least, there are documents to prove this. The prosecution tried to circumvent the judicial process by ensuring that the witness did not enter into the witness box so as not to be on oath.
5. Saraki further tears into the EFCC
One is conscious of the fact that the anti-graft agency and its allied bodies are frantically looking for a poster-case to sell its anti-corruption campaign and there is the hunger for conviction in a celebrated case to advertise in the international arena government’s determination to pursue the anti-graft campaign.
And an extra:
6. Saraki is certain the FG’s appeal is a waste of time
This Appeal against the CCT ruling is nothing but another attempt to grandstand and embark on another media trial without any substance. This is why the Senate President is sure it will be another exercise in futility.