Saraki Triumph As Supreme Court Dismisses False Assets Declaration Charges Against Him
The Supreme Court on Friday finally dismissed the trial of a Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, on assets declaration and sundry charges instituted against him before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
A five-man panel of the apex court led by Justice Centus Nweze unanimously upheld Saraki’s appeal, by dismissing the remnant three counts, declaring the evidence led by the prosecution as hearsay.
Senator Saraki had filed an appeal at the apex court to challenge the ruling of the Court of Appeal which asked the CCT to try him on three of the 18 counts brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Umar Danladi-led CCT had in June 2017, terminated the trial and dismissed the entire 18 counts charges preferred against Saraki.
But during the delivery of judgment on Saraki’s appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal, the apex court held that the prosecution failed to call material witnesses to support its case against the Senate President.
It agreed that all those who have knowledge of facts were not called to testified in the matter and held 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 Supreme Court also held that the Court of Appeal made a caricature of its judgment when it found as a fact that the entire evidence presented by the prosecution was hearsay and manifestly unreliable and still went ahead to agree that prima facie case was established against the Senate President in three out of the 18 charges.
Justice Nweze the ruled that there was no basis for the Court of Appeal to have asked Saraki to defend himself on the three charges, having found the entire evidence of the prosecution as a product of hearsay,
He added that 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 prima facie case against anybody,” it added.
In all, the five-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.