Senate President cleared of assets declaration charges by Surpreme Court

The Supreme Court has on Friday, upheld an appeal by Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki, and dismissed the appeal by the Federal Government, clearing Saraki of all charges instituted against him before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Justice Dattijo Muhammad led five-man panel dismissed the charges declaring the evidence led by the prosecution as hearsay.

Last year, the 18
count assets declaration and sundry charges brought against Dr. Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal was terminated on trial by the Danladi Umar-led CCT, a decision based on the grounds that the prosecution, with its four witnesses and 49 exhibits tendered, only led hearsay evidences.

However, on appeal the Federal Government, the Court of Appeal in Abuja, restored three out of the dismissed 18 counts and ordered Saraki to return to the CCT to defend the three charges.

Both sides appealed to the Supreme Court, with the Federal Government appealing against the dismissal of 15 counts while Saraki appealed against the remaining 3 counts restored by the Appeal Court.

Justice Centus Nweze, in it's lead judgement, upheld Saraki's appeal and dismissed the Federal Government's appeal, agreeing with the CCT that the evidence led by the prosecution at the tribunal was entirely hearsay.

Justice Nweze also held that the Court of Appeal decision to restore three out the 18 counts dismissed by the CCT was wrong as it already agreed that the evidence led by the prosecution was hearsay.

Justice Centus Nweze quoted a part of the Court of Appeal's judgment where it held that "the prosecution failed to call those who have direct knowledge of the facts sought to be proved, to testify".

He also added that restoring three of the counts based on the evidence already declared as hearsay was "equivalent to judicial equivalent of a forensic somersault".

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