The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal on Tuesday nullified the acquittal ruling of the Code of Conduct Tribunal handed down in favour of Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, in June this year.
Delivering a unanimous judgment in the appeal filed by the Federal Government against the Senate President’s acquittal, the three-man panel of the Court of Appeal headed by Justice Tinuade Akomolafe-Wilson dismissed 15 out of 18 counts filed before the CCT on the grounds of lack of evidence.
But the court ruled that Saraki, the former Governor of Kwara State, had a case to answer with respect to three of the counts numbered 4, 5, and 6.
Justice Akomolafe-Wilson who prepared and read the lead ruling, held that there was “ample” evidence led by the prosecution to warrant the Senate President to open his defence in respect of the three counts.
With the Tuesday’s judgement of the Court of Appeal, Saraki will now return to the CCT to open his defence in respect of the three counts.
“It is ordered that this case be remitted to the Code of Conduct Tribunal for the respondent (Saraki) to enter his defence,” the Court of Appeal ruled.
In Count 4, which was sustained by the Court of Appeal, Saraki was accused of making false assets declaration at the end of his tenure as Executive Governor of Kwara State in 2011 and on assumption of office as a Senator in 2011 in respect of a property at 17A McDonald, Ikoyi Lagos.
The prosecution contended that the defendant falsely declared to have acquired the property at 17A McDonald, Ikoyi, Lagos September 6, 2006 from the proceeds of sale of rice and sugar.
In Count 5, the prosecution accused Saraki of making false asset declaration at the end of his tenure as Executive Governor of Kwara State in 2011 and on assumption of office as a Senator in 2011 when he declared that he acquired No. 17B McDonald, Ikoyi Lagos on September 6, 2006 from proceeds of sale of rice and sugar.
In Count 6, the prosecution also accused Saraki of making a false declaration in his Assets Declaration Form at the end of tenure as Governor of Kwara in 2007 and on assumption of office as Executive Governor in 2007 by failing to declare his outstanding loan liabilities of N315,054,355.92 out of the loan of N380,000,000 obtained from Guaranty Trust Bank Plc.
Delivering judgment on Tuesday, Justice Akomolafe-Wilson, held that there was “direct evidence” from the testimony of first, second and fourth prosecution witness supporting the three counts.