At Last, Saraki Appears At Tribunal, Pleads Not Guilty | Independent Newspapers Limited
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At Last, Saraki Appears At Tribunal, Pleads Not Guilty

Posted: Sep 22, 2015 at 6:23 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Celestine Amoke, Lagos

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Tuesday, September 22, 2015, appeared before the Code Of Conduct Tribunal, Abuja, and pleaded not guilty to the 13-count charge of false declaration of assets.

The CCT judge, Danlami Umar, had issued an order for the Senate President’s arrest after he failed to appear in person last week.

The judge after some heated arguments summoned the Senate president to the accused box after citing the Constitution. He insisted that the CCT had every power to summon the accused.

Saraki finally appeared at accused box and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

“I am not guilty to all the charges. I am a true believer in rule of law, I came here to subject myself, I am here because I am the Senate president. If there is a false asset declaration, the Code of Conduct according to the constitution should summon the accused, so the tribunal should have called me,” stated.

Earlier, the prosecutor, Rotimi Jacob, with his team of lawyers recalled that the accused was to appear on Monday for his plea but was trying to overstretch the matter.

“We need to change our ways. The judiciary saved this nation yesterday. So the business of today is for the accused to go to the accused box and take his plea and not try to stop the process,” he said.

The defendant’s lawyer, Joseph Daudu (SAN) however contended: “My learned colleague is under misconception that this is a criminal trial because it is very fundamental. Let’s at least point it out and let me read what will guide the tribunal from the constitution on paragraph 18. 1. You are not a court to try criminal case. He is not an accused person or criminal but a defendant, the application of criminal justice is not the work of the Code of Conduct Tribunal because this is not criminal court,” he said.

After the not-guilty plea, the CCT judge adjourned the case to October 21, 22, 23, 2015.