A timeline of Bukola Saraki’s journey to freedom from his Code of Conduct Trials

The Code of Conduct Tribunal recently dropped all charges in the false declaration of assets case against Senate President Bukola Saraki.

Although the case was filed in 2015, the trial did not begin until 2016.

Saraki had different times filed applications for the trial to be dismissed while also urging the tribunal judge, Danladi Umar to recuse himself from the case.

Here’s a timeline of how the trial played out:

March 11, 2016: Saraki appeared before the Code of Conduct Tribunal with an entourage of 30 Senators.

The Senate President also appeared with 66 lawyers representing him.

March 18, 2016: At the resumed hearing of Saraki’s motion to quash the charges against him, his lawyer, Kanu Agabi (SAN), stated that the tribunal lacked jurisdiction to entertain the charges arguing that the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice lacked the authority to file charges before the tribunal.

CCT chairman, Danladi Umar fixed March 24 for ruling on the application.

March 24, 2016: The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) threw out the petition of the embattled Senate president, Bukola Saraki who asked the court to quash the criminal charges preferred against him by the Federal Government.

President of the Court, Justice Danladi Umar, stated that the charges against Saraki was valid and legally competent.

April 6, 2016: Ninety lawyers announced their appearance for Saraki.

April 22, 2016: Saraki filed another application at the tribunal seeking to disqualify the Chairman, Danladi Umar.

He asked Umar to withdraw himself from his trial because he was biased.

April 28, 2016: The Federal Government added three more charges against Saraki, making a total of 16 charges.

Saraki was accused of receiving monthly salaries from Kwara state government from 2011 to 2015, after leaving office.

May 12, 2016: Danladi Umar has postponed the trial of Saraki to enable the defence lawyers cross-examine the first proscution witness, Micheal Wetkas properly.

May 18, 2016: The first prosecution witness, Micheal Wetkas said Saraki acquired a London property worth N375 million in 2010, which he did not declare in his asset declaration form.

June 1, 2016: The trial which was adjourned did not take place.

It had scheduled for continuation of cross-examination of the prosecution witness, Michael Wetkas.

June 21, 2016: Saraki through his counsel, Paul Erokoro accused CCT chairman of bias again.

July 12, 2016: The trial was adjourned to October due to the annual 2016 annual recess to be embarked upon by the tribunal’s judges.

October 5, 2016: The Code of Conduct Tribunal once again dismissed an application for the dismissal of its chairman, Danladi Umar filed by Saraki.

Saraki had said the chairman was biased, calling for his resignation.

Saraki, through his counsel had said comments by the tribunal chairman showed the outcome of the trial was already decided.

Umar, however said the chairman was the same as his tribunal .

October 27, 2016: The Appeal Court in Abuja dismissed an appeal filed by Senate President Bukola Saraki challenging the jurisdiction of the Code of Conduct Tribunal to try him for charges of false declaration of assets

November 8, 2016: Danladi Umar adjourned the trial of Saraki to January 11.

Saraki’s counsel, Paul Esoro had earlier cross-examined Michael Wetkas, a detective of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and prosecution witness.

January 11, 2017: The charges against Saraki were increased to 17.

February 23, 2017: Saraki pleaded not guilty to all 18 charges against him.

Samuel Madojemu, an official of the Code of Conduct Bureau also told the CCT that Senate President Bukola Saraki made cash deposit of N77m in his account in August 2007.

March 22, 2017: The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) gave reasons why it did not invite Senate President Bukola Saraki to explain discrepancies in his asset declaration form before charging him to court.

April 6, 2017: The tribunal adjourned to April 18 and later April 25 following a notice to the effect of the further adjournment by the tribunal.

April 27, 2017: The absence of a witness led to the adjournment of the trial for the fourth time.

May 4, 2017: The Federal Government closed its false asset declaration case against Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

The prosecution’s witness had testified before the Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja.

June 8, 2017: The Danladi Umar-led two-man panel reserved its ruling after hearing Saraki’s no-case submission and the federal government’s objection to it on June 8.

June 14, 2017: The tribunal dismissed all charges against Saraki, saying there was no sufficient evidence against him.

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