Wednesday, 8 February 2017

[NG]Why we amended false asset declaration charge against Saraki – CCB

The Code of Conduct Tribunal has adjourned the trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki to allow the defendant time to peruse the amended charge against the defendant.
The prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, had on Wednesday informed the tribunal of its decision to amend the 16-count charge brought against Mr. Saraki.
After Mr. Jacobs stated his client’s request to amend the charge, the tribunal adjourned hearing.
When the session resumed, the defence counsel, Kanu Agabi, asked the court for an adjournment to allow the defendant understand the details of the amended charge.
He prayed the court for an adjournment till February 28, but Mr. Jacobs objected the application saying a long adjournment was unnecessary.
Mr. Agabi had hinged his request on the claim that the prosecution was the one delaying the case.
“This is the second amendment. Are we the ones delaying the trial? It is a serious case. We need to go and study the amendment; we need time.
“He has a right to seek an amendment and we have a right too to seek time to go through the charges,” said Mr. Agabi.
The tribunal chairman, Danladi Umar, adjourned the matter to February 23 to take the plea of Mr. Saraki on the amended charges.
Speaking with journalists after the hearing, Mr. Jacobs said the amended charges, now 18-count are based on fresh evidences gotten from the testimonies by witnesses.
“It’s not about an increase in the charge, we just needed to amend it to suit the new evidences from testimonies of witnesses. There is no need to make heavy weather out of this fresh charges; (they are) in line with the former one,” said Mr. Jacobs.
Mr. Saraki’s trial began in 2015, with a 13-count charge, bordering on false asset declaration.
The charges were later increased to 16-counts, in 2016.

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