The Supreme Court has upheld the appeal of Senate President Bukola Saraki and discharged him of the remaining three charges against him in the case of false declaration of assets.
The court upheld the appeal in a lead judgment delivered by Justice Centus Nweze on Friday in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Senator Saraki had filed an appeal at the apex court to challenge the ruling of the Court of Appeal which asked the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) to try him on three of the 18 counts brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Delivering judgment on Saraki’s appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal, the apex court held that the prosecution failed to call material witnesses to support its case against the Senate President.
The court agreed that all those who have knowledge of facts were not called to testified in the matter and held that those who tendered documentary evidence against Saraki during the trial were not makers of the document, hence, their evidence on the documents were hearsay and lacked probative value.
The Supreme Court also held that the Court of Appeal made a caricature of its judgment when it found as a fact that the entire evidence presented by the prosecution was hearsay and manifestly unreliable and still went ahead to agree that prima facie case was established against the Senate President in three out of the 18 charges.
Justice Nweze the ruled that there was no basis for the Court of Appeal to have asked Saraki to defend himself on the three charges, having found the entire evidence of the prosecution as a product of hearsay,
He added that the action of the Court of Appeal amounted to forensic summersault and capable of making Ill of jurisprudence.
“This court will not lend its jurisdiction to such a charade and caricature of justice. It carries grave error in holding that a prima facie case has been established against the appellant,” the court held.
“The prosecution is duty bound by law to call all key witnesses to be able to establish prima facie case against anybody,” it added.
In all, the five-panel of the apex court in the unanimous judgment agreed that the failure of the Federal Government to call vital witnesses in the trial of Saraki was fatal and rendered the trial nugatory.
The court dismissed the entire 18 charges brought against Saraki by the Federal Government and consequently discharged and acquitted the Senate President accordingly.
In June 2017, the CCT quashed an 18-count of false asset declaration and money laundering levelled against the Senate President by the EFCC for lacking in merit.
The tribunal had also agreed with the Senate President that he had no case to answer.
While the appeal court agreed in part with the lower court in its ruling on January 14, 2018, it held that Saraki had a case to answer in counts 4, 5, and 6, which had to do with his purchase of properties in the Ikoyi area of Lagos State.
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