I’m a target because I am Senate President – Saraki

By Amako Nneji September 22, 2015 14:01

I’m a target because I am Senate President – Saraki

Senate President, Bukola Saraki on Tuesday told the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar that he knew that he is on trial because he is the Senate President and Section 3(d) of the Code of Conduct Act has already vindicated him.

Saraki stated this while pleading not guilty to the 13 count charges filed against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau,CCB.

The Senate President’s statement came barely 24 hours after a member of the CCB who spoke on the condition of anonymity faulted the agency’s action against Saraki, saying that the entire trial was needless and a contradiction of the process stipulated in the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.

The offences Saraki is accused of according to the charge, violated sections of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended.

See: REVEALED: How APC cabal pressured Danladi to blackmail Saraki

However, Saraki’s lead counsel the Former President of Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Joseph Dauda argued that that the Tribunal did not have the jurisdiction to hear the matter.

Section 3(d) of the CCB Act states that: “The functions of the Bureau shall be ….to receive complaints about non-compliance with or breach of this Act and where the Bureau considers it necessary to do so, refer such complaints to the Code of Conduct Tribunal established by Section 20 of this Act in accordance with Section 20 to 25 of this Act.

    “Provided that where the person concerned makes a written admission of such breach or non-compliance, no reference to the Tribunal shall be necessary.”

The member further said that if the Bureau had followed the provision of Section 3(d) of its own law, it will not rush to trial, but invite Saraki to come and defend whatever inconsistency or infraction that may have been discovered in his asset declarations.

He added that the normal procedure according to Section 3(d) of the Act was that the Bureau should set up a committee to determine whether an infraction has been committed by any public officer after submitting his/her asset declaration forms.

He noted that the Section of the Act was not complied with before the Senate President was charged before the tribunal. “If it had been complied with, the man will probably not even need to get to court at all, even if he committed all we are charging him with. Once he admits the inconsistency and regularizes them.”

Saraki on Monday resolved to be present at Tuesday’s proceeding after the Court of Appeal dismissed the ex-parte application seeking to set aside the order made on Friday by the CCT asking for his arrest.

See: I’m ready to face the “Incompetent” tribunal – Saraki

The Senate President had shunned the CCT, on two occasions which was the subject of argument at the Monday seating, with his lawyer defending his absence on the ground of “technicalities, incompetence and lack of quorum” of the CCT.

Saraki entered the dock at exactly 11:25am, after his lawyer failed in his bid, to stop him from taking his pleas at the tribunal.

The Senate President pleaded not guilty to all the charges. He was accompanied by his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, former Sokoto Governor, Aliyu Wamakko and several other Senators to the tribunal.

See: The sins of Saraki’s father, By Audu O. Audu

The Tribunal adjourned the trial to October 21.