Saraki sues government asks court to set aside alleged forgery charges
Senate President Bukola Saraki yesterday asked a high court of the Federal Capital Territory to set aside the charges preferred against him by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation over allegation of forgery of Senate Standing Rules, 2015 describing the charges as unnecessary distractions.
Saraki is being charged before the court, along with his deputy and two others over allegations of forgery of the standing rules of the senate, to conduct the elections that brought him and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, into office as leaders of the National Assembly.
They were charged with Salisu Abubakar Maikasuwa and Benedict Efeturi in Charge Number CR/219/16.
Saraki, in a motion filed and dated June 22, 2016, through his counsel, Ahmed Raji (SAN), asked for an order, praying the court to dispense with the physical appearance and arraignment of 3rd Defendant (Saraki) in Charge No. CR/219/16 between FRN v. SALISU ABUBAKAR MAIKASUWA & 3 ORS, during and pending the determination of this motion on notice.
Saraki, through his counsel, Raji, also asked the court for an order, setting aside the purported service of the charge, which was effected by substituted means, in a ruling of the court on Tuesday.
The Senate President is also asking the court to strike out or quash, against him, the Charge No. CR/219/16 between FRN v. SALISU ABUBAKAR MAIKASUWA & 3 ORS., for non-disclosure of a prima facie case.
He also prayed the court for an order suspending or adjourning, sine die, all the proceedings against him in the case and argued that the notice of trial and information ought to be personally served on him.
Saraki, through his counsel, stated: “No unsuccessful attempt was made by the Complainant to effect personal service of the Information/Charge on the 3rd Defendant. Hence, pasting of the processes on the Notice Board of the National Assembly is not good service.
“No prima facie case has been disclosed against the 3rd Defendant in this Charge.
“There is no link between the proof of evidence and the allegations made against the 3rd Defendant in the Charge.
“The 3rd Defendant is currently standing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal over alleged offences under the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act in Charge No. CCT/ABJ/01/15 between FRN v. DR. OLUBUKOLA ABUBAKAR SARAKI.
“Accelerated hearing has been ordered for the prosecution of the said trial, in consequence of which the proceedings therein are being conducted on virtually day to day basis.
“The 3rd defendant requires adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence.
“The Prosecution of this charge concurrently with the other one being tried at the CCT will not only working great hardship against the 3rd defendant, but will also deny him an opportunity to a fair trial.”
Saraki, in an affidavit in support of the motion deposed to by one Dolapo Kehinde, a legal practitioner, said the charges consistently constituted a distraction.
The affidavit stated: “The preferment of the instant charge is a precipitated decision made in bad faith, not only with an odious intention to scuttle legislative businesses at the Senate, but also a move to further throw the country into greater instability, such that distract Senators from their oversight functions and accountable governance.
“I know that the concurrent prosecution of this Charge with the other one at the CCT will not only work great hardship against the 3rd defendant, but will also deny him an opportunity of a fair trial.
“The 3rd defendant requires adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence in the instant charge.
“That the 3rd Defendant/Applicant will be adversely prejudiced and denied a fair trial/fair hearing if he is made to simultaneously stand trial for the two charges.
“On account of national exigencies and necessities, the need to dispense with the presence of the 3rd Defendant/Applicant during hearing and determination of this Motion on Notice is also desirable.
“In the interest of justice and fair play/trial, it is imperative that proceedings in this suit are suspended or adjourned sine die, pending determination of the proceedings/trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.