Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has told the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, that he intends to file a no-case submission.
This implies that he is not opening a defence, but asking the Tribunal to discharge him, because there is no case against him.
Recall, that Saraki is facing charges of false asset declaration, brought against him by the Federal Government.
Paul Erokoro, Counsel to Saraki, asked the Tribunal for a leave to file the application of no-case submission, instead of opening a defence.
This was after Rotimi Jacobs, Counsel to the Federal Government and prosecution, told the Tribunal that he had closed his case.
Jacobs had called his fourth and last witness, Bayo Daudu, a senior staff member of Guaranty Trust Bank, GTB, and Account Officer of the Senate President, on Thursday.
Danladi Umar, Chairman of the Tribunal, adjourned the case till June 8, for adoption of written addresses.
Saraki’s legal team decided to make the ‘no case submission’ as the Federal Government witnesses concluded their evidence in which the respondent’s asset declaration forms, bank statements, foreign and local bank transactions records among others were tendered and admitted as exhibits during the trial. Four prosecution witnesses including an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), officials of Guaranty Trust Bank and Zenith Bank and a staff of the Code of Conduct had testified in the trial.
Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), who has led the prosecution team since the trial commenced, hinted that the ‘no case submission’ if filed by the defendant will be challenged. Jacobs pleaded with the tribunal to consider shorting the time within which the defendant and complainant should file their processes as the trial had dragged since 2015. Chairman of the tribunal, Danladi Yakubu Umar, after consultation with parties in the matter, fixed June 8, 2017 for the parties to adopt their written submissions which should be filed and exchanged by the prosecution and the defendant lawyers. Meanwhile, at the trial on Thursday, a prosecution witness, Bayo Dauda, informed the tribunal that the document allegedly used for foreign transaction by Saraki were not in possession of the Guaranty Trust Bank Plc.
The witness, who came from the bank to tender some documents and give evidence, informed the tribunal that all efforts to locate the documents were unsuccessful because the transactions had taken place long time ago. Besides, the witness further said that he had no address of any property that were bought in London by Saraki with the foreign remittances he made while in office as governor of Kwara State. He however admitted that Saraki, like any other customer, took loans three times from the bank to purchase properties and that he had paid the loan in line with terms of agreement that guided the loan agreement.
The witness informed the tribunal that the defendant, apart from not defaulting in the payment for the three loans, also complied with other terms which included the submission of the title documents of the properties to bank, purchased with the loans. Daudu further stated that Saraki also had a comprehensive insurance on the properties acquired with the loans. It would be recalled that the Federal Government had in 2015 dragged Saraki before the tribunal accusing him of failure to declare his assets as required by while he served as the governor of Kwara State. Recall also that the Federal Government had amended the charge four times before finally closing the case against the Senate President.