The Senate President Bukola Saraki has released a statement saying that the Federal Government’s appeal against the ruling of the Code of Conduct Tribunal was another attempt to embark on a media trial.
He said this on Friday through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity Yusuph Olaniyonu.
“This appeal against the CCT ruling is nothing but another attempt to grandstand and embark on another media trial without any substance. This is why the Senate President is sure it will be another exercise in futility,” he said.
The Senate President added that there were certain individuals in the government seeking to “pull him down at all cost,” which was why stories appeared in the media claiming the tribunal judges were bribed.
“Anybody who has been following the proceedings and the evidence given by the prosecution witnesses during examination in chief and cross-examination should know that if presented before any court of justice and law, the same outcome as in the CCT would be arrived at.
“Those who are running commentary on the ruling by the tribunal and criticizing it are those who are not even familiar with the case and the details coming out of the trial. That is why Dr. Saraki continues to wonder how desperate some people in government and their collaborators outside have become to pull him down at all cost and by all means up to the point that they do not care if they destroy the institution of the judiciary in the process.
“That is why they sponsored stories of allegation of bribery in an online publication against the tribunal judges. The Senate President seizes this opportunity to call on security agencies to immediately commence investigation on this bribery allegation. It is his views that those who made the allegation should be invited to substantiate their claims.
“This same desperation made a man like Prof. Itse Sagay, the Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Anti-Corruption to appear on tape, admitting in a foreign country that he interfered with the process in the tribunal when in an unethical manner he was instructing the judge on how to conduct the trial.
“Corruption is not just about giving or diverting money; when an official interferes with the judicial process with a view to achieving personal objectives, it is corruption.
“The Senate President notes that another sign of desperation by those who want to get him convicted at all cost was the failed antics of the prosecution counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) who, in collusion with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission sought to manipulate evidence at the tribunal.
“On realizing the fundamental flaw in its case as it did not invite the defendant to make any statement at any point in the investigation, the prosecution brought in an agent of the EFCC to tender old statements Saraki made in a totally different and unrelated matter that had nothing to do with false asset declaration, he said”
In the statement, Saraki said anti-graft agencies were desperate for a poster-case to sell its anti-corruption campaign, which was why in a celebrated case like his there were “antics aimed at perverting the course of justice.”
“If not desperation by the prosecution, why is the EFCC so involved in a case of false assets declaration which is an exclusive preserve of the Code of Conduct Bureau? All the evidence presented during the trial were from the EFCC.
“The commission rendered the CCB a second fiddle player. That is why the only CCB witness presented by the prosecution gave what the tribunal referred to as ‘hearsay evidence’. The CCB chief prosecutor testified that he got his instruction to investigate the case orally. He made his report from the investigation orally. Even the directive to ‘collaborate with EFCC’ on the investigation was given orally, a development the tribunal found strange and unknown to law.
“All these antics aimed at perverting the course of justice were obvious throughout the period of the tribunal’s sitting. Though, one is conscious of the fact that the anti-graft agency and its allied bodies are frantically looking for a poster-case to sell its anti-corruption campaign and there is the hunger for conviction in a celebrated case to advertise in the international arena government’s determination to pursue the anti-graft campaign, we implore them to achieve this aim by allowing justice to take its normal course,” he said.