The federal government has appealed to the Supreme Court to revive all the 18 false assets declaration and other connected charges instituted against the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, however which were dismissed by the Code of Conduct tribunal in June 2017.
In its December 12, 2017 judgment, the Abuja Division of the Court of appeal had repaired 3 out of the 18 counts but Affirmed the choice of the CCT with respect to the rest of the 15 counts on the grounds of lack of proof.
Saraki had since filed a seven-ground notice of appeal against the part of the Court of Appeal’s judgment restoring the 3 counts.
but the federal government on Tues filed a counter-appeal of 15 grounds against the part of the judgment that affirmed the dismissal of the 15 counts.
The CCT had in its june 14, 2017 ruling on the no-case submission that Saraki filed after the prosecution concluded its case, dismissed the whole 18 counts on the grounds of lack of credible proof.
The federal government had, through its prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), appealed against the CCT ruling.
Delivering a unanimous judgment on December 12, 2017, the three-man panel of the Court of appeal headed by Justice Tinuade Akomolafe-Wilson remodeled 3 out of the eighteen pink-slipped charges and ordered Saraki to enter his defence before the CCT in respect of the three counts.
But the Court of appeal affirmed the CCT’s ruling affirmed the dismissal of the rest of the 15 counts as ordered by the CCT.
The Federal Government’s appeal has filed a cross-appeal complaining against part of the Court of Appeal’s judgment in respect of counts 1, 2, 3, 7 to 18.
In its appeal, the prosecution led by Jacobs urged the Supreme Court to order Saraki to enter his defence in respect of all the 18 counts.
the government asked the Supreme Court to set aside the part order of the Court of appeal, upholding the ruling of the CCT in respect of the 15 voided counts.
It also sought-after the Supreme Court’s order remitting the entire case back to the CCT for Saraki to enter his defence in respect of the entire 18 counts.
the government faulted the Court of Appeal’s decision that the prosecution failed to establish a clear case in respect to the voided 15 counts.
It argued that by the decision, the court failed to give result to paragraphs 11(2), 1(3) and 13 of part 1, Fifth Schedule of the Constitution that placed the burden on each defendant answering to such charges to prove their innocence.
The appellant stated that “the Court of appeal misinterpreted and misapplied” paragraph 1, Fifth Schedule to the Constitution to the facts of the case once it held that after a statement contained within the Code of Conduct form stuffed by a public officer is found to be untrue, he should be prosecuted for any false declaration within the type without any burden of proof on the said public officer”.
It argued that by the provision of the law, the duty of the prosecution was simply to prove that the general public officer concerned made a declaration, that the declaration had been found to be false by the officer who verified it so, the onus or burden of proof would then shift to the suspect to prove that the declaration wasn’t false.
It added, “The Court of appeal, contrary to the settled position of the law, on what amounts to a clear case, wrong considered the credibility of the witnesses of the prosecution and attached weight to evidence adduced by the prosecution.”
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“The Court of appeal, while wrongly affirming the finding os the lower tribunal that the testimony of PW3 amounted to hearsay, also inexcusably extended the scope of the finding by classifying the testimonies of different prosecution witnesses as hearsay once that wasn’t made a problem having regards to the grounds of appeal.”
The Federal Government’s appeal also faulted the Court of appeal decision that the proof by PW1 and PW3, in respect to the voided counts, amounted to documentary hearsay, and thus inadmissible
It argued that oral testimony of the 2 witnesses were based on the documents recovered throughout the investigation, notably from public officers and such documents, certified by those public authorities, are probable genuine till the contrary if verified.
It also faulted the Court of Appeal’s finding that most of the prosecution’s proof amounted to hearsay and that the necessary witnesses were not called.
It argued that it was not enough for the court to assert that the prosecution failed to decision a specific witness, the defence should show the relevance of the proof of the witness to any of the ingredients of the offences charged.
The cross-appellant, in additional faulting the Court of appeal decision, contended that it was wrong for the court to carry that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case in respect of the voided 15 counts.
It contended the prosecution adduced enough proof in proof of the counts to warrant career on the defendant to enter his defense.