Good afternoon and thanks for joining us.
This Wednesday, the Code of Conduct Tribunal is resuming with its prosecution of the president of the Nigerian Senate, Bukola Saraki, over alleged false and anticipatory assets declaration.
Cross-examination of star prosecution witness, Michael Wetkas, which has been underway for over a month, is now continuing with tribunal chairman, Danladi Umar, having taken his seat at 12:20 p.m. No reason was given for this delay.
PREMIUM TIMES will provide live updates about the activities and extra-activities in and around the tribunal in real-time.
Mr. Saraki’s trial, legal experts say, is one of the biggest in the history of Nigeria.
Therefore, if, for some reasons, you just started paying attention, or became lost somewhere along the way, read the timeline of the trial and numerous tactics the Senate President had deployed to stop here and what you need to know about the proceeding here.
Mr. Saraki has taken his seat.
Both defence and prosecution teams have been introduced.
But prosecution witness, Mr. Wetkas, is still being expected. Rotimi Jacobs, lead prosecutor, appealed to the chairman to give Mr. Wetkas 10 mins to arrive.
Mr. Umar subsequently adjourned sitting till 1:00 p.m.
13.53: The tribunal chairman is back on seat at 1:40 p.m., 40 minutes late.
Mr. Wetkas has arrived and the cross-examination has finally resumed.
Defence counsel, Paul Usoro, is questioning Mr. Wetkas on count number 6 of the prosecution charges.
The count has to do with a property located at Maitama, Abuja, which Mr. Saraki owned but allegedly failed to declare in 1993.
14.47: Mr. Usoro is still leading Mr. Wetkas in cross-examination. The current issue is about a property Mr. Saraki allegedly purchased in 1993 but failed to declare in his assets declaration form in 2003 when he became governor of Kwara State.
There is a disagreement over where the property is situated and if Mr. Saraki owned it.
Mr. Usoro is grilling Mr. Wetkas about if the property is at Plot 2481 Cadastral Zone or 2482 Cadastral Zone.
Mr. Wetkas read a letter from Abuja Metropolitan Management Agency which informed the EFCC that the property was transferred to Mr. Saraki using a power of attorney.
Mr. Usoro then attempted to ask further questions about the property, but the tribunal chairman weighed in: “You’re making the records untidy,” Mr. Umar chided Mr. Usoro.
15.13: Mr. Usoro said the power of attorney was made in 1993, 10 years before Mr. Saraki became governor. He said the power of attorney was issued between one David Baba Akao and Allied Properties Ltd, a company that Mr. Saraki allegedly owned.
Dino Melaye, Rafiu Ibrahim and seven other senators are here with their president for today’s hearing, which makes is 21st day of the trial.
16.24: The defence counsel, Mr. Agabi, requested an adjournment till tomorrow. Mr. Umar balked, saying the hearing should continue till 6 p.m.
But after Mr. Agabi explained that he would become too tired and that he would become so weakened by the proceeding that he now snores whenever he tries to take a nap, the chairman adjourned till tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.
19.23: The defence team is requesting another adjournment, but the prosecution team is raising an objection.
Mr. Jacobs argues that the cross-examination of Mr. Wetkas is dragging for too long, which, he said, is unnecessary. Mr. Jacobs says there are other witnesses still waiting to testify.
This angers the co-chairman, Williams Atedze, who said Mr. Jacobs has no right to railroad the tribunal. “Do you think whenever I enter into my office to do something, I went to see my girls?” He queried. His colleague, Mr. Umar, then quipped: “Only God knows…”
Mr. Atedze said there are other cases the tribunal is currently handling that require them to adjourn Mr. Saraki’s case.
The defence counsel, Mr. Agabi, request an adjournment. Mr. Umar balked, saying the hearing should continue till 6 p.m. and resume tomorrow.
But after Mr. Agabi explained that he had become too tired and that he had become so weakened by the proceeding that he now snores whenever he tries to take a nap, the chairman adjourned till Wednesday, June 1.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...