Politics

Only Saraki, not Senate is on trial, CCT tells ‘escort’ Senators

Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (cct), Danladi Umar, said on Monday that the Senate can still hold its sittings while its president, Bukola Saraki is facing trial.

According to him, it is only Saraki that is on trial and not the Senate, hence he would not suspend the trial of Saraki as a prelude to the sitting of the Senate.

Saraki is currently facing trial over alleged false declaration of his asset when he was governor of Kwara State.
Umar who made the assertion during Monday’s proceedings with about 13 senators who accompanied Saraki present, was responding to a request from Saraki’s counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), for the tribunal to skip Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday‎ which are the days of the week which the Senate sits.

Read also: CCT to hear Saraki’s case on day-to-day

Umar, who had earlier informed that the trial will be conducted on a day-to-day basis said, “The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not on trial, the Senate should sit. The only thing is that the personality of the defendant who happened to be the Senate President. The Senate should continue to sit.”

Earlier, the Federal Government’s first prosecution witness, Mr. Michael Wetkas, ended his three days testimony reeled out the names of various companies operated by the Senate President while he was Governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011.

The prosecution had alleged that some of the companies were used by the Senate President to acquire properties which were allegedly not declared by Saraki.

The witness said the name of Saraki’s wife, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Saraki, featured as director in two of the companies – Carlie Properties and Investments Limited and Skyview Limited – using her maiden surname as Oluwatoyin Ojora.

He however said that on inviting the Senate President’s wife, she denied having anything to do with the companies.
The trial was adjourned till Tuesday for cross-examination of Wetkas.

Meanwhile, Saraki said Monday that his on-going trial at the CCT will not disturb the activities of the Senate.
Saraki said now that the trial proper has commenced and the Senate is in session, he would not want the trial to affect legislative business.

“I am the one on trial not the Senate. Even though I have been overwhelmed by the solidarity displayed by my colleagues, it is important that the work of the Senate is not unduly affected by this process,” he said.

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