Why Nigerian govt will appeal Saraki’s CCT acquittal – Presidency

Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his supporters after the Code of Conduct Tribunal sitting in Abuja discharged and acquitted him of 18-count charge of non-declaration of assets, in Abuja on Wednesday (14/6/17).
03225/14/6/2017/Ernest Okorie/BJO/NAN
Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his supporters after the Code of Conduct Tribunal sitting in Abuja discharged and acquitted him of 18-count charge of non-declaration of assets, in Abuja on Wednesday (14/6/17). 03225/14/6/2017/Ernest Okorie/BJO/NAN

The acquittal of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal last week will have negative implication for Nigeria’s fight against corruption as well as jurisprudence on false asset declaration, the presidency told PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday.

Therefore, the federal government will appeal the ruling, according to the presidential adviser on prosecution, Okoi Obono-Obla, who spoke with our correspondent this morning.

“Federal government will definitely appeal because we will not want that to be Nigeria’s jurisprudence on assets declaration, and so that a bad precedent will not be set,” said Mr. Obono-Obla. “If we allow that judgement to stand, it is bye bye to the war against corruption.”

The CCT had last week Wednesday cleared Mr. Saraki of false asset declaration, charges brought against him by the federal government.

The tribunal chairman, Danladi Umar, ruled that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against Mr. Saraki, thereby upholding a no-case submission made by the defendant’s counsel, Kanu Agabi.

That ruling was “outrageous”, Mr. Obono-Obla said, arguing that it was not based on the weight of evidence adduced by the prosecution.

He added that the “no-case submission” upheld by the tribunal was “anachronistic”.

“Overwhelming evidence was adduced by the prosecution. We saw the best of advocacy from one of the best advocates in the country, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN. Contrary to that, no case submission, which I considered anachronistic, was upheld.

“The tribunal should have overruled the no-case submission and called the defendant to defend himself. Standard of proof cannot be the same as ordinary criminal prosecution. You falsely declared your assets, then the onus shifts to the defendant to prove he didn’t make false declaration,” said Mr. Obono-Obla.

According to him, it is envisaged the federal government will appeal against the acquittal of Mr. Saraki by Wednesday.

“We are studying the judgement; we should get the certified true copy by Monday or Tuesday. Then, we will file notice of appeal on Wednesday,” he said.

Last week, the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption, Itse Sagay, had expressed shock at the acquittal of Mr. Saraki in an interview he granted PREMIUM TIMES.

He said it was incredible that Mr. Saraki was absolved and, therefore, advised the federal government to appeal against the ruling.

However, Mr. Saraki’s colleagues, including his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, and the former Governor of Yobe State, Bukar Ibrahim, have taken turns to congratulate him.

At the last Senate sitting on Thursday, Mr. Ekweremadu raised a point of order to congratulate the Senate President.

Mr. Saraki’s trial commenced in September 2015, shortly after he defied the ruling All Progressives Congress to contest and win the National Assembly leadership.

He then explored all avenues, up to the Supreme Court, to avoid trial but failed. However, the trial ended in his favour even without offering any defence.

He filed a no-case submission, after the prosecution had closed its case and called four witnesses.

The submissions of the witnesses were not credible to establish sound evidence against Mr. Saraki, ruled the tribunal chairman, Mr. Umar, whom Mr. Saraki had accused of bias previously.


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  • TC

    The ruling was suspect, it doesn’t take more than a year based on submitted evidence to come to a conclusion of “no case submission” by Umar….ijs. This was Delay till my palms get greased wayo.

  • Arabakpura

    The war against corruption died the day Buhari took ill and the judiciary went on rampage! In my opinion, we should regularize corruption until such a time when we would have returned to an animal-sort of setting as described by Hobbes — when the poor will start feeding on the rich as their meal; then, we can reconsider!

    For now, the war against corruption is dead — may be not buried yet — we should arrange its burial!

    • princegab

      Watch out, cannibalism has started in Nigeria.

    • isiaka

      This is a great disgrace for these Government and a bad image for Nigeria at large.

  • GbemigaO

    This is the thing that is wrong with this country- when the CCT chairman was hammering Saraki, everyone including Sagay and Sahara Reporters were praising the man. Immediately he acquitted the man, then he has taken bribe and he is corrupt. Who decides the just judgement? Anytime judgement goes against what anyone thinks , then the judge is guilty. We can’t definitely continue like this!

    • Sanssouci

      They remind me of 4 year olds who are utterly irresponsible and must win at all times.

  • SAM .A

    I hope is not going in Nigeria Appeal Court , Go and appeal in People’s Court . In Nigeria Court today Evans , Chukwudimeme Onwuamadi George wii be granted bail and his case will be dismissed later . I insist Nigeria Judiciary is the Licensing office for corruption . CCT headed by Umar Danlami as the Judge , when he was a Bar Boy under the defense lawyer of Saraki; Mr Kanu Agabi ,while Olu Jacob who was the Federal Government prosecutor was also in training in Kanu Agabi’s Chamber . Every Nigerians should be able to predict the outcome they got . Not guilty as a civil servant to have acquired that stupendous wealth. Don’t you have the law dealing with conflict of interest & recuse in Nigerian .Nigerian good judges ,who are men of integrity have all gone Late Justice Oputa , Late Justice Aguda .All we have in Judiciary today are padi -padi judges with apology to Fela . They are always hobnobbing with lawyers who have cases in their court , always looking for favor , like the lawyer who claimed to have gift for judge to bury his mother , when his case is still pending . What has happened to Tarfa SAN case ?

  • MilitaryPolice01

    There will be no appeal on Wednesday. COS Kyari who the often confused and loud mouthed Obono Obla reports to will call him to order. The acquittal of Saraki is a strategic push in the 2019 political chess game too big for Obla to understand, by the time he realizes what is actually going on he would be clutching regrettably at his own sack letter – then he would belatedly realise that he was moving against interests favourable to the re-election ambitions of his boss.

  • Gerald Okoduwa

    If criminals in high places continue to win no case submissions, people of integrity in Nigeria would have been slapped. This fraudulent verdict must not stand, else FG would lose face in the international community. Corruption hijacked the National Assembly and now the Judiciary with a questionable CJN. Ethnic human rights wailers and corruption culprits in the legal profession who were everywhere calling for the enthronement of an obviously corrupt CJN have suddenly gone mute as if they’ve travelled out of the country. Even a primary school pupil knows that there can be no acquittal without a defence.

    • I dey ask

      @geraldokoduwa:disqus

      IS IT THE SAME USELESS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT THAT DID NOT APPEAL THE NONSENSE
      JUDGMENT GIVEN BY JUDGE DANLADI UMAR TO FAVOUR BOLA TINUBU THAT IS BOASTING
      NOW THAT IT WILL APPEAL THE ALMOST PAID-FOR VERDICT OF FREEDOM FOR SARAKI?

      • 360°?????????

        “It is said that he who comes to equity must come with clean hands. In this regard, I ask, what were the details
        and the resolution of the EFCC matter on Danladi Umar’s bribery case? I don’t know, I’m just asking. Does
        the DSS possess any information about Danladi Umar on the use or abuse of hard drugs? Is there
        any record that Danladi Umar had been driving and crashing his car under the influence?
        These are questions that I don’t know the answers to but I want you to investigate”.

        ………….Professor Femi Odekunle

        (June 18th, 2017)

      • 360°?????????

        @geraldokoduwa:disqus

        “It is said that he who comes to equity must come with clean hands.
        In this regard, I ask, what were the details and the resolution of the EFCC
        matter on Danladi Umar’s bribery case? I don’t know, I’m just asking. Does the
        DSS possess any information about Danladi Umar on the use or abuse of hard
        drugs? Is there any record that Danladi Umar had been driving and crashing his
        car under the influence? These are questions that I don’t know the answers to
        but I want you to investigate”.

        ………….Professor Femi Odekunle

        (June 18th, 2017)

        • vivarevoviva

          @geraldokoduwa:disqus: A country administered by honest and knowledgeable people is best,
          and it is to be preferred. The physical elimination of all treasury thieves and their businessmen accomplices in Nigeria is a task that must be done. Roll out the tanks now and drain the swamp!

          Let Nigeria’s revolutionaries quickly form fighting alliance with the military men in uniform. It’s time
          to clean up Nigeria with physical action. Enough of talking to un-repentant thieves in government who’ve destroyed the basis of community happiness. It’s time to kill the treasury thieves and make Nigeria great again.

      • Action, Action, Action!!

        Only a bloody revolution can save Nigeria! All Nigeria’s bribe-takers and treasury thieves

        must be killed (along with their children wanting to inherit) and laid to rest in perfect peace.

        • Abanj

          What Politicians dont realise is that , it is coming to this. Africans didn’t fight back when they were being sold into slavery, it is happening again. People are literally being sold into slavery. Parents are seeing their children with No jobs whilst Politicians , Senators all become billionaires. Their children living large when they have done nothing to deserve such wealth. More and more people are saying the same thing and it might only be a matter of time.

      • Pat

        Not the same Federal government.

  • realist

    The end of Buhari fight against corruption. Danladi Umar compromised became obvious when he started postponing the case arbitrarily and obliging all the request of Saraki’s lawyers. Two billions naira is not a joke especially to corner someone that sabi how to enjoy life… Drunkenness, drug, and immorality are very expensive.

  • Mayo

    Once again the Presidency shoots itself in the foot. A statement criticizing the verdict and talking about appealing the verdict should not be coming from the Presidency. It gives the impression that this whole thing is political. We have an Attorney General who oversees prosecution including fraud cases. They should be the ones talking about whether they agree with the judgement or not, whether they will appeal or not. The Presidency has to seperate itself from these cases to avoid any semblance of politicizing the issues. This is the problem Donal Trump is facing today – even though he appoints the AG and the FBI Director, the fact that he tried contacting the FBI director directly became a political headache for him.

    • You took this comment straight from me. The whole corruption campaign has become a political witch hunt. Saraki was apc and Buhari hatchetman to stampede GEJ out of Aso Rock. He has become the hunted for grabbing the juicy position from the APC godfathers.

      • Abanj

        Really – So You believe he is innocent. You believe all the money he has offshore is legitimate and that he was right not to have declared it?

        • Let the AGF or EFCC or any Agency do the prosecution. Definitely not the presidency.

    • absam777

      The logic of your post is very shallow. First, Who appointed the Attorney General? ,Second, Anti-corruption campaign is one of the key platform of this government and therefore anything that tries to derail it must be addressed by the government, especially the presidency. The work of the Attorney General is technical and not with the policy decision which the government spokesperson on the matter has postulated. Lastly, your comparison with the American experience is nothing but misrepresentation of facts and the reality on the ground.

      • Mayo

        1) How is my comparison with the American experience misrepresentation of facts and reality on the ground? In the US, the American President appoints the FBI director and has the right to fire the person for any or no reason at all yet it is ‘frowned upon’ for the White House to contact the FBI director personally or to have one on one meetings with the director. Comey testified to this and said he was uncomfortable when Trump called him and asked him to dinner ‘alone’. In fact the Justice department has specific guidelines against this.

        In America, the President also appoints the ‘United States Attorney’s for different districts and can fire them anytime but the Attorney for the the Southern District of New York declined to take the President’s phone calls.

        2) Going back to your first point about corruption campaign being one of the key platforms of the government. The proper thing to do is to make sure you choose ‘ a good Attorney General’, someone you feel can do the job. If you feel something is not being done right, you either caution the person or replace the person. It is not the job of the Presidency to participate or talk about individual cases. Doing that gives ‘politicizes’ the thing. When you appoint professionals, you should allow them to do their jobs.

    • Uzoma John

      You got it wrong. In the first place it was the Attorney General of the Federation that took the case to court. So, it’s a Govt case. Stop twisting and talking what you know nothing about.

      • Charles

        you are the one that got it wrong, the AG should the one talking and not the presidency.

      • Mayo

        Go back and read my comment. I said …..We have an Attorney General who oversees prosecution including fraud cases. They should be the ones talking about whether they agree with the judgement or not, whether they will appeal or not…

        Take time to read someone’s comment and understand it instead of shooting from the hip

  • Suleiman Alatise

    There must be a defense before an acquittal, you don’t have to be a lawyer to understand this. The criminal has only postponed the inevitable.