“Desperate People In Government Bent On Pulling Me Down” – Saraki

Bukola-Saraki1
The President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki says he is unperturbed by the decision of the federal government to file an appeal against the ruling of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), which upheld the plea of ‘no case submission’ he made on the 18-count charge of false asset declaration preferred against him.

In a statement issued yesterday by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki expressed confidence that the verdict of the Appeal Court would not be different from that of the CCT, as the facts of the case remain the same.

He added that the grounds, on which the CCT based its decision to acquit him, remained unassailable.

The Senate President said the appeal was nothing but another attempt to grandstand and embark on a media trial without any substance.

He said the outcome of the trial at the CCT was expected, considering the evidences given by the prosecution witnesses during examination and cross examination.

“Those who are running commentary on the ruling by the Tribunal and criticising it are those who are not even familiar with the case and the details coming out of the trial.

“Some desperate persons in government and their collaborators outside are bent on pulling him down at all costs, even 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.

“This same desperation made a man like Prof. Itse Sagay, the Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Anti-Corruption (PACAC) to appear on tape admitting in a foreign country that he interfered with the process in the tribunal 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 statement said.

Saraki called on security agencies to investigate those who made allegations of bribery in his trial and invite them to substantiate their claims.

The statement reads further: “We hear the same desperate people say there was so much evidence and are surprised at the verdict of the tribunal. But they forget to mention that this was a case that the prosecution counsel amended charges thrice. If as it is being portrayed to the public it was a straight forward case following investigation, how come every time their case was dismantled during the process, they went back to amend charges just in desperation to get a conviction?”

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 Jacob who in collusion with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) sought to manipulate evidence at the tribunal.

“On realising 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.

“The prosecution forgot that the letter inviting Saraki to make the tendered statements explicitly mentioned the matter being investigated. However, the Tribunal, as it is obvious in its ruling, saw through the dirty trick. It therefore disregarded that piece of evidence and described it as irrelevant and of no value to the case.

“If not desperation by the prosecution, why is the EFCC so involved in a case of false asset declaration which is an exclusive preserve of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB)? All the evidence presented during the trial were from the EFCC. 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 ally 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.

“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.

“Dr. Saraki has demonstrated his unflinching belief in and respect for the judicial process and its ability to resolve issues relating to fundamental rights of Nigerians. That belief in the judiciary is the basis for his assurance that the position of the CCT that he is not guilty of the charges preferred against him would be sustained in the higher courts.”

Credit Thisday

Buhari Suffers Speech Impairment In London

To match Interview NIGERIA-BUHARI/
President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammad Buhari, who left Nigeria 45 days ago to resume treatment for an undisclosed medical condition believed to be cancer, has developed speech difficulties, presidency sources said today.

Several of President Buhari’s aides who traveled with him are reportedly not in touch with him, reports say, while others were ordered to return to Nigeria, with nobody having any certainty about the prospects of Mr. Buhari’s date of return.

During his last trip Saharareporters revealed that his London doctors rejected the idea of his returning to work.  They asked that he remained in London for four months to see how best they could treat his illness.  Nonetheless, the cabal managing the president brought him back to enable him to undertake a number of acts including military postings and appointments that would have been impossible with an acting President on seat.

At that time, Buhari revealed he had been very ill and had received blood transfusion, and indicated he would soon return to the UK for further treatment.  During the period he was in Nigeria, he was rarely seen outside, but managed to attend a few Federal Executive Council meetings which he left as soon as the photo opportunities were done with. Two weeks after that return, his condition deteriorated and doctors had to be flown in from the UK to embark on treatment, but that phase lasted only for a few weeks.

The president then stopped attending the weekly FEC altogether, but to maintain the ruse that he was healthy, members of the cabal would shepherd him to the mosque on Fridays hoping to generate sentiments within the core Muslim north where a rumor had circulated that the president had been “poisoned”.

 Buhari eventually left for the UK abruptly on the evening of May 7, shortly after meeting with some Chibok girls who had been released the previous day by Boko Haram. Although Buhari spoke at the event, his voice was barely audible, as he had lost a lot of weight, his condition reportedly complicated by Crohn’s Disease.

When the President was leaving for the airport, he shocked his aides when he asked if they were going to Sokoto, perhaps one of the first signs of his deteriorating memory.

It has now been learnt that President Buhari has not spoken to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo by telephone since his departure.  Only last week, the Acting President was asked to await a phone call from Mr. Buhari but when a call eventually came in, nothing coherent was heard from Mr. Buhari, despite the cabal having kept telling people of his “tremendous” improvement.

The cabal is also reportedly behind the rumors of a possible coup by some military officers a couple of weeks ago, as well as the recent quit notice by some Northern youths to the Igbos in that area, which they figured would make western countries view such an attempt with understanding if they thought the action would protect Nigeria as an indivisible entity.

Meanwhile, several top western diplomats including the Ambassadors of the US and the UK, are scheduled to meet with Acting President Osinbajo in the coming days. It is unclear if at that meeting the UK will brief Osinbajo regarding Buhari’s exact condition, but a State Department official told Saharareporters that they are more concerned about Nigeria’s indivisibility than the question of Buhari’s health.  A source at the British Embassy told this website they don’t think Buhari could continue to govern in the condition he is in London.

President Buhari left Nigeria flew into Luton airport on a Presidential jet with registration number 5N-FGT in the first week of May.  The jet was then flown on a 17-minute ride from Luton to London Stansted Airport, where it remains parked for over a month.

Credit Sahara reporters

Is Dino Melaye on his way out of the Senate as 188,588 signs for his recall?

Dino Melaye
Dino Melaye

A total of 188,588 people from Kogi West senatorial district in Kogi State have signed for the recall of Senator Dino Melaye from the National Assembly.

The process began two weeks ago when the people of Kogi West across the seven local government councils trooped out to formally sign for the recall of the senator.

A chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC) from Kogi West, Hon. Pious Kolawole, while addressing the people of the district at the state party secretariat in Lokoja yesterday, said as electorate, there is a law that empowers them to recall their representative if they are not satisfied with his activities.

He pointed out that the recall of Melaye cuts across all political parties that registered and voted during the election in Kogi West, adding that it was not only an APC affair.

“We have collated the wards registration which was done in Kabba, the headquarters of the district.
“Alhaji Yahaya Bello is our governor, our leader and our father, but let me tell you that he has no hand in the recall of Melaye.
“We asked the state government not to intervene in the matter because it is purely the electorate from the district who have decided to recall him based on cogent reasons,” he said.

Meanwhile, the returning officer for the recall of Melaye, Mallam Ademu Yusuf, while announcing the result from the seven local government areas, said the collation was done last Saturday in Kabba, the headquarters of Kogi West senatorial district.
According to him, in Yagba East, out of 35,331 registered voters, 18,374 signed while in Yagba West, out of 35,966 registered voters, 20,029 signed.

In Mopa-Amuro, out of 18,356 registered voters, 9,186 signed; Kabba-Bunu has 60,522 registered voters, 28,277 signed; Kogi has 46,810 registered voters, 27,703 signed, Lokoja has 116,296 registered voters, 63,736 signed while in Ijumu, out of 46,819 registered voters, 24,283 signed.

Mallam Yusuf noted that out of the 360,098 total numbers of registered voters in all the seven local government areas, 188,588 registered voters signed the recall of Melaye.
“Constitutional requirement for recall is 50.1 percent of the registered voters and already we have 52.1 percent,” he noted.

Credit Thisday

The Specious Lies Of A Gangster Minister – Femi Fani-Kayode (pic & videos)

By Femi Fani Kayode

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I couldn’t help wondering why Channels Television keeps offering its respected platform to this shameless old fool to beam, broadcast and perpetuate unadulterated falsehood to the Nigerian people and to tell specious lies. The whole thing is simply incredulous.

During the course of that interview he told one big lie after the other with such ease and without batting an eyelid. I really do wonder how this man sleeps at night. I guess such things come naturally to him.

I look at his face and all I see is an unconsciable and relentless shit projector and sewage propeller.

He reminds me of one of those filth-ridden open gutters in India’s City of Mumbai: all manner of unprintable and disgusting things flow in and through it for all to smell and see.

Everything about him, including how he looks, what he says, what he wears and how he talks stinks to high heavens.

Like Donald Trump once said about a notorious Mexican drug lord, “this dude is a bad hombre!”

He is the kind of person that would pass a lie detector test with flying colours over and over again simply because lying is his nature. He is posessed by what the bible graphically and aptly describes as a “lying spirit”.

The first salvo of lies that he told us during the course of the interview was that Sheik El Zak Zaky, the leader of the Shiite Muslim community in Nigeria, was being kept in a guest house with his family and that he was not in government custody.

He went on to contradict himself by saying that the Federal Government was keeping him in custody only because they were building him a brand new house that he would move into later and that the difficulty that they had was that no-one wanted to be his neighbour!

Finally he said that the courts had said that the Sheik must not be released until that brand new house had been built for him.

Needless to say, all three assertions are false. They are nothing but dirty and desperate lies, cooked up to justify the governments disgraceful and indefensible behaviour towards El Zak Zaky, his family and the Shiite Muslims of Nigeria.

The truth is that firstly El Zak Zaky and his family are NOT being kept in a private guest house and both he and his wife most certainly are in government custody.

They have both been badly wounded, they are in the custody of the DSS and, for just under the last two years, they have been held at the DSS Headquarters in Abuja.

Their lawyers and doctors have little access to them but once in a while they are shipped to a secret government safe house for a short impromptu meeting with a handful of family members.

Secondly the Federal Government is NOT building a house for El Zak Zaky and even if they were this should not be a reason to keep him in indefinate and illegal custody and detention.

Thirdly the courts gave El Zak Zaky and his wife an order for unconditional release from the custody of the security agencies and his release order was not conditional on the government first building him a new house as Lie has suggested.

The truth is that the man and his wife have both been kept in illegal detention for almost two years, against their will and in total violation of all court orders.

Worst still throughout that period they have not been brought physically or produced by the intelligence agencies before any court of law.

El Zak Zaky was shot and blinded in one eye by the military whilst his wife was shot four times in the stomach at the time that his home was attacked and they were both abducted.

Over one thousand of his Shiite Muslim supporters were murdered that day and their homes were shelled, bombed and burnt to the ground. Since then both the man and his wife have been locked up in dingy underground cells and have been subjected to the most inhuman and barbarous form of pyschological and mental torture.

These are facts that Lie refused to acknowledge in his interview and that the government that he serves seek to hide from both the Nigerian public and the international community.

Lie also lied about Col. Sambo Dasuki the former National Security Advisor to President Goodluck Jonathan. He said that Dasuki was being detained indefinately because he would pose a threat to the Federal Government and to national security if he was released.

He went further to say that Dasuki had stolen 1.3 billion USD and that the government would not release him until that money was returned despite court orders to the contrary.

He did not tell us where the 1.3 billion USD was stolen from, he did not tell us whether it was stolen in cash, by cheque, by bank drart or by transfer and he did not tell us how he stole it. All he did was pick a figure from the sky and drop it.

He also said that as far as the government was concerned national security considerations were more important than court orders and that even though the courts had ordered Dasuki’s relese on several occassions the government would continue to ignore such orders because they believe that he poses a threat to national security.

The fact that it is unlawful to disregard court orders in Nigeria had no bearing on Lie. The fact that there is no law and no constitutional basis or justification to keep Dasuki in detention against court orders is immaterial to him and to the government that he serves.

The fact that the allegation that he stole 1.3 billion USD is not only utterly absurd but also has no basis in truth or reality is neither here nor there to this wicked man and to those he represents.

The fact that Dasuki poses no threat whatsover to anyone, least of all the Federal Government, matters less to this strange, conflicted and inexplicable creature that calls himself the Minister of Information and Culture.

The fact that locking up a man illegally and indefinately, depriving him of his constitutional rights and freedom, denying his lawyers and doctors full access to him, traumatising his family and friends, putting his stunningly beautiful and deeply courageous wife Bintu through hell, refusing to allow him to attend his aged father’s burial and denying him the right to be in a position to prepare a proper legal defence for himself against his detractors and accusers in court means absolutely nothing to this pernicious liar.

No matter how low the government goes and no matter how barbaric, illegal and heartless their actions are in terms of the violation of civil liberties and human rights, Lie has proved over and over again that he is prepared to go on Channels television or anywhere else to defend them.

I am convinced that if Buhari ordered for the gassing to death or burning alive of every single opposition figure and their family members together with all his other perceived enemies, Lie would gladly attempt to justify and defend it and Channels television would be only too happy to accomodate him and grant him the platform to do so.

Worse still he is prepared to defend the consistently aberrant, cruel, wicked, deviant and ungodly behaviour of the government that he serves with nothing less than the most bombastic and obvious lies, wholesale mendacities, false accusations, malicious fabrications and notorious and skewered half truths.

He has no conscience, no feeling, no empathy for his victims, no compassion, no mercy and no milk of human kindness.

One wonders if a man that is prepared to treat others so unjustly and defend it publicly can ever make it to heaven? One wonders whether they believe in God and if so whether they have any fear of Him.

It is clear to me that somewhere in the equation madness has crept into Lie’s confused and irreverant physche. He deserves to be pitied and, more importantly, he needs a lot of help and prayer. The sleazy job that he has been doing for the last two years has taken its toll and has got the better of him.

27 years ago when I first met Lie he used to be an absolute gentleman. Always wearing a smart suit and a crisp bow tie and always making concise and meaningful contributions to our many intense, contentious and oftentimes acrimonious discussions and public debates at the old September Club in Lagos, he was quite a sight to see.

He was a delight in those days. He was a man of his word, he always spoke the truth and it was a pleasure to be his friend. Sadly all that has changed.
In those days he was the affable and dependable “Lai” but today he is the truculent and cantankerous “Lie”.

In those days he was a man of unimpeachable honor and character who valued his integrity and reputation above all else but today he is a mere shadow and caricature of his former self.

He cuts a tragic figure that, over the years, found himself in bad company and that has degenerated very badly in terms of his virtues, his moral authority and his ability to stand for truth.

Simply put, he has sold his soul to the devil and he can now be righly and accurately described as one of those that the Bible refers to as a “son of perdition”.

A Minister of Information and Culture that everyone hates, that no-one trusts, that no-one believes and that looks like a cross between an ageing chimpanzee and washed-up and weathered old scarecrow.

At least Shehu Garbage and Femi Adesina are a little bit more presentable and they try to be a little more refined, subtle and polished with their distortions of truth. Not so with Lie.

He is just a plain old-fashioned, crude, vulgar Goebellian propagandist and pernicious liar. Like his father Satan, there is no truth in him. He was a liar from the start and the father of lies.

The truth is that he should have been the spokesman for the Italian or Russian Mafia, the Turkish or Greek underworld, the Japanese Yakuza, the Chinese Kuomintang or one of the numerous Colombian and Mexican drug cartels and not the Minister of Information of Nigeria.

That is the sort of thing he was born do. I say this because deep down Lie is nothing but a cheap hood and a gangster.

He is a ghetto and gangster Minister who speaks for and represents a ghetto and gangster Government.

Family feud erupts in the execution of political icon’s will (pics)

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaks at a joint press conference with Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (not pictured) after witnessing a signing ceremony for a memorandum of understanding agreement between both countries at the Istana presidential palace in Singapore on 28 July 2015.Mr Lee Hsien Loong is the eldest son of the late and revered Singaporean leader Lee Kuan Yew

A long-running feud among the family of Singapore’s prime minister over the legacy of their father, the country’s first leader, has resurfaced.

In Facebook posts, two of PM Lee Hsien Loong’s siblings accused him of going against their late father Lee Kuan Yew’s wishes and abusing his power.

The family dispute centres on a legal tussle over a house which belonged to their father.

The prime minister, a popular leader, strongly denied all the allegations.

But the row has shocked many in the city-state, where the Lees, widely considered Singapore’s “First Family”, are held in high regard.

Lee Kuan Yew was the prime minister of Singapore when it reluctantly became independent in 1965, and is credited with steering its rapid economic and political transformation.

Known to many as LKY, he was often criticised for his restrictive approach to politics, jailing or suing his opponents and restricting freedoms.

Despite this, he is still held in huge affection by Singaporeans, who turned out in the thousands to mourn him when he died in 2015.

Demolition or preservation?

The family dispute first became public last year on the anniversary of Mr Lee’s death, when the prime minister’s sister, Lee Wei Ling, accused him of exploiting the late leader’s legacy for his own gain.

FILE PHOTO: Lee Kuan Yew (C) and his family celebrate his 80th birthday in Singapore, 16 September 2003. From (L-R) daughter-in-law Lee Suet Fern, son Lee Hsien Yang, Chief Justice Tong Pung How, daughter Lee Wei Ling, Lee, wife Kwa Geok Choo, son Lee Hsien Loong, daughter-in-law Ho Ching and granddaughter Li Xiuqi. REUTERS/David Loh/File PhotoMr Lee Hsien Yang (left) and Ms Lee Wei Ling (second from right) are seen in this 2003 photo with their father Lee Kuan Yew (right)

In the early hours of Wednesday, Ms Lee and her brother, Lee Hsien Yang, released a statement saying they had lost confidence in their brother as the nation’s leader.

They accused the prime minister of being opposed to carrying out their late father’s wishes – as stated in his will – that the family home at 38 Oxley Road be eventually demolished, rather than becoming a monument to him.

The prime minister had previously stated he would remove himself from all government decisions on the house, and he personally wished to honour his father’s wishes.

But his siblings accused him of backtracking from this position, and said they felt “threatened” by Mr Lee’s “misuse of his position and influence over the Singapore government and its agencies to drive his personal agenda” and “fear the use of the organs of state” against them.

They gave no specific evidence of alleged personal harassment.

A man walks past the house of Singapore's late founding father Lee Kuan Yew at Oxley Rise in Singapore on 11 April 2016.The late leader Lee Kuan Yew had stated in his will that the house, seen here in 2016, be demolished after his death

Lee Hsien Loong, the prime minister since 2004,  said that he was “very disappointed” that his siblings had publicised “private family matters” in a statement that “has hurt our father’s legacy”.

He denied all their allegations, including “the absurd claim” that he had political ambitions for one of his sons.

Mr Lee, who is overseas and on leave, said he would consider the matter further after his return this weekend.

Lee Hsien Yang, who is chair of Singapore’s aviation authority, told the BBC he would “leave Singapore soon” and was “looking at a number of options” on places to move to.

The allegations have generated intense debate online, with many expressing sympathy for the prime minister while others have sided with his siblings.

But the general reaction appeared to be of shock and dismay at the family feud spilling out in public once again, with many urging for reconciliation.

“Don’t disgrace your father by making use of media to settle personal disagreement, that’s childish and it will only make issues and [the] sibling relationship worse,” said one Facebook user called Marcellus Louie.

Credit Bbc

Read Saraki’s response to his victory at the CCT

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Dr Bukola Saraki

Nigeria’s senate president, Bukola Saraki has stated that he bear no grudge against anyone following his win at the CCT trial on Wednesday.

In a statement he made available, Saraki stated;

Today, June 14, 2017, the Code of Conduct Tribunal sitting in Abuja discharged and acquitted me on a case of false declaration of assets, which started in September 2015.

You would recall that at the beginning of the trial, I maintained that I will clear my name. The conclusion of this trial has vindicated my position. With the outcome of this case, our faith is renewed in our courts and our hope is restored that the judiciary in our country could indeed provide sanctuary for all those who seek justice.

I thank the Almighty Allah, the ultimate Judge and the repository of all powers. He alone has brought about this victory. I am immensely grateful to all my colleagues in the National Assembly for their abiding support. All through my trial, they demonstrated their strong conviction about the choice we all decided to make two years ago. I thank members of my family for their unflinching support. I thank all friends and supporters back home in Kwara State and across the length and breadth of our country for their prayers and their sacrifices. My gratitude also goes to all members of my legal team for their tireless efforts to ensure the cause of justice is served.

After undergoing the crucible of a tortuous trial, my vindication today calls for celebration. It is my belief however that if there should be any celebration at all, it should be a celebration of the hopes that this judgment gives us as citizens that despite all the challenges that we face as a country, we are well on our way to building a country where the innocent needs not be afraid. I therefore urge all my supporters to refrain from any unbridled triumphalism. The challenges that our country faces today are enormous and do not allow for wanton celebration. Instead, we should all reflect on the significance of this moment and what it meant for our democracy.

On a personal note, I harbour no grudge against anyone, regardless of the role they might have played in the persecution that I had endured in the last two years. I believe that If my trial had in anyway given hope to the common man that no matter the forces arraigned against him, he can still get justice in our courts, then my tribulation had not been in vain.

Once again, I thank my colleagues in the 8th Senate for standing firm. Regardless of the distraction of my trial, we have achieved more as legislators than the previous Senates. Now that this distraction is over, we can even achieve so much more. We must now proceed from here with greater vigour to deliver on the expectations of Nigerians and show that this 8th Senate can indeed play a central role in improving the quality of lives of our people.

Lastly, I thank all the gentlemen of the press for your abiding interest in this case, which I believe had contributed in no small measure in ensuring that truth and reason ultimately prevailed.

Code of conduct Tribunal acquits Bukola Saraki

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The Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja on Wednesday discharged and acquitted the Senate President, Dr. Bulola Saraki, of all the 18 charges of false asset declaration and other related offences preferred against him.

The two-man panel of the CCT led by its Chairman, Danladi Umar, unanimously upheld the no-case submission which Saraki filed after the prosecution closed its case with  48 exhibits tendered and the fourth and the last prosecution witness testified on May 4, 2017.

Umar, in his lead ruling, exonerated Saraki of all the charges on, among other grounds, the failure of the prosecution to obtain Saraki’s statement and make it part of the proof of evidence was fatal to the case.

He described as “absurd” that neither Saraki’s statement nor the report of investigation said to have been carried out was produced before the tribunal.

He agreed with the defence team led by Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN),  that the prosecution’s evidence had been manifestly discredited during cross-examination by the defence.

He added that the evidence adduced by the prosecution led by Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) was “so unreliable that no reasonable tribunal could convict” based on it.

The court erupted in thunderous jubilation among the lawyers and supporters of the Senate President as soon as the tribunal made the pronouncement exonerating him on Wednesday.

While the lead defence counsel, Agabi, thanked the tribunal for the ruling, the counsel who led the prosecution team on Wednesday, Mr. Pius Akutah, told journalists that the prosecution would review the ruling  “in order to determine the next step”.

The charges instituted against Saraki before the CCT related to the alleged breaches of the code of conduct for public officers, acts which were said to be punishable under the Constitution and the CCB/CCT Act.

He allegedly committed the breaches by making false declaration of his assets while being governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2007 for his first term and between 2007 and 2011 for his second term as governor and from 2011 to 2015 as senator.

Among the breaches were that he obtained N375m loan from Guaranty Trust Bank Plc in 2010, converted it to £1,515,194.53 and transferred to the United Kingdom for full and final mortgage payment for a London property.

Additional charges against him included the allegation that he continued to receive salary and emoluments as Governor of Kwara State after the expiration of his tenure and at the same time, from the Federal Government as a senator between June 2011 and October 2013.

He was also said to have failed to declare to the Code of Conduct Bureau on assumption of office as Governor of Kwara State in 2003, his leasehold interest leasehold in the property at 42, Remi Fani-Kayode Street, Ikeja, Lagos.

The charges also included the allegation that Saraki failed to make a written declaration of his “properties and assets”, that is, N77m made into his account with Guaranty Trust Bank, GRA, Ilorin branch on September 5, 2007.

The prosecution alleged that the sum of N77m was not fairly attributable to his “income, gifts or loan approved by the Code of Conduct for Public Officers”.

The prosecution also alleged that while being a public officer, operated bank accounts outside Nigeria, and failed to declare the foreign accounts to the Code of Conduct Bureau while being governor and a senator during the period.

Properties that were allegedly falsely declared by Saraki included 17, 17A and 17B Mcdonald, Ikoyi, Lagos; Plot 2A, Glover Road, Ikoyi, Lagos; 37A, Glover Road, Ikoyi, Lagos which he allegedly bought through Carlisle Properties; No. 1 and 3 Targus Street, Maitama, Abuja, otherwise known as 2482, Cadastral Zone A06, Abuja.

The Supreme Court had on February 5, 2016, dismissed Saraki’s objection challenging his trial before the CCT.

In his contribution to the ruling of the tribunal on Wednesday, co-member of the tribunal, Atedze Agwaza, who expatiated on the decision of the tribunal to free Saraki, noted that the Senate President was investigated by an illegal team comprising officials of the Code of Conduct Bureau, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Department of State Service.

He noted that such investigative team was strange to both the Constitution and the CCB/CCT Act under which Saraki was charged.

He also rejected the entire evidence of the prosecution on the basis that the evidence of the third prosecution witness, Mr. Samuel Madojemu, the Head, Intelligence Unit of the CCB, was nothing but hearsay.

Agwaza specifically noted that Madojemu’s affidavit evidence, which formed the foundation of the charges filed, was based on hearsay evidence.

Agwaza noted that Madojemu was  CCB’s Chief Investigator, adding that the witness’ hearsay evidence was, therefore, an affliction which rendered the entire evidence of the prosecution invalid.

He said, “The formulation of the 18 counts against the defendant is predicated on the affidavit of PW3, Mr. Samuel Madojemu,  who is the Chief Investigator at the Code of Conduct Bureau. The affidavit was filed as part of proof of evidence in support of the prosecution’s case.

“Affidavit-evidence is evidence nonetheless. By his testimony, PW3 said, and I quote, ‘details of the outcome of the investigation as highlighted in the affidavit by me were part of information given to me members of the team’.

“I find and hold that this apposite testimony is an affliction and epidemic that bedevilled the entire prosecution’s case and that particular evidence has rendered the who evidence of the prosecution invalid.

“It connotes that PW3 had no first-hand knowledge of all he said and the documents tendered. This is hearsay evidence and violates sections 37, 38 and 126 of the Evidence Act 2011.

“The affidavit evidence of PW3 is manifestly inadmissible in law and, so I hold.”

On the alleged illegality of team that conducted the investigation of the case against Saraki , Agwaza ruled, “The term team so constituted is unknown in law and never contemplated by the CCB/CCT Act under which the defendant is being tried.

“The said team is made up the CCB, DSS and EFCC. This team has no constitutional backing or statutory backing.”

He said the combined effect of the illegality of the investigative team and the inadmissible evidence of the prosecution was that “the charge is incurably defective” and amounted to a miscarriage of justice suffered by the defendant.

He added, “Hearsay evidence according to a plethora of judicial authorities is not admissible for the purposes of establishing criminal liability. See the case of Buhari Vs Obasanjo  (2005) All NWLR Pt 273 pg1.

“It is trite law that the evidence required to establish a crime is the evidence of witness, who saw or had or took part in the transaction upon which he is giving evidence.”

He also described as a fatal error on the part of the prosecution, its failure to obtain the statement of the defendant and include it in the proof of evidence filed before the tribunal.

Agwaza said, “Another fatal error is that the prosecution did not obtain the statement of the defendant to make it part of its proof of evidence in this case.

“Indeed the response to a petition is the foundation of defence. This is perhaps the only initial document that  will now show or establish fairness in the process.”

He added that the statement made by the defendant to the EFCC was admitted as Exhibit 45 through oral evidence that had been ruled to be inadmissible.

“Failure to have, keep and make it part of proof of evidence is fatal. Even Exhibit 45 was tendered and admitted in evidence without admissible oral evidence by a person who can explain the purport makes it bereft of probative value,” the tribunal member ruled.

He also noted that the prosecution also chose to tender the Certified True Copies of the Asset Declaration Forms of Saraki instead of the original copies which were available in the prosecution’s custody.

He stated that the failure of the prosecution to tender the original copies of the documents marked Exhibits 1 to 6, 26 and 46,  was detrimental to the case of the prosecution” as “the original copy of a document is superior”.

He also agreed with the defence that prosecution failed to call some vital witnesses, a development which he said was detrimental to the case.

The tribunal member said, “For example, if you say the defendant was collecting salaries from the Kwara State Government and at the same time from the Senate, why was the Accountant-General of Kwara State not summoned to come and testify?

“The witnesses would have helped the tribunal tremendously in casting much light on the alleged offences.

“The failure has led to the failure of providing evidence linking the defendant to the commission of the offences with which he is charged.”

Agwaza maintained that going by section 36(5) of the Constitution, a defendant was presumed innocent and that the said defendant was not expected to prove his or her innocence.

He added that the prosecution having failed to link the Senate President to the offences charged, there was no reason to call on the defendant to enter his defence.

Agwaza said, “The burden of proof is not upon the defendant to prove his innocent. It will be fundamentally erroneous for this tribunal to call upon the defendant to prove his innocence.

“On this account, the prosecution had failed to link the defendant to the commission of the offences as charged.”

He added, “Based on this analysis, it is my humble contention  that the defendant has no case whatsoever to answer and he is accordingly discharged and acquitted.”

Earlier, the tribunal chairman specifically noted that the third prosecution witness, Mr. Samuel Madojemu, who is Head, Intelligence Unit of the CCB, only gave hearsay evidence on the information the witness purportedly received from the EFCC.

Umar also noted that the evidence of the first prosecution witness, Mr. Michael Wetkas, an operative of the EFCC, was unreliable.

Concerning the evidence of second prosecution witness, Mr. Amazi Nwachuckwu ,  Head of Funds Transfer Unit of the Guaranty Trust Bank, Umar noted that witness had testified that documents relating to alleged foreign transfers by Saraki had been consumed in a fire incident so there was nothing to prove the charges that were based on the documents.

The tribunal chairman also noted none of the four witnesses, including Mr. Bayo Dauda, an official of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Ilorin branch in Kwara State,  who testified as the fourth witness, gave evidence that could prove any of the ingredients of the alleged offences.

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Osinbajo Is Behind The North And South-East Crisis- Northern leader

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Dr Junaid Muhammad

The North has accused Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, of fueling the latest crisis between the Northerners and the South-Easterners, that is currently threatening the country’s unity.

A Second Republic Lawmaker, and Elder Statesman, Junaid Muhammad, maintained that Osinbajo’s silence in tackling groups making inflammatory statements, is tantamount to irresponsibility.

Muhammad made the remark while speaking at a Public Lecture, organised by the Mumbayya House, with the theme, “Electoral Democracy and Integrity in Nigeria, Reflections on INEC Transformation 2011-2015”, in Kano.

He said: “I must make it clear that lack of brutal frankness on the part of government, especially the Acting President, when it comes to national issues, appeared to be fueling these drumbeats of war.”

Recall, that the Spokesperson of the Northern Coalition group, Coalition of Northern Youths, Abdulaziz Suleiman, had ordered the Igbos to vacate the region, in three months.

Speaking last week Tuesday, Suleiman had said the entire Northern Nigeria was tired of coexisting with the Igbos, and asked that “all Igbos currently residing in any part of Northern Nigeria, are hereby served notice to relocate within three months, and all Northerners residing in the East, are advised likewise.

“The persistence for the actualization of Biafra by the unruly Igbos of South-Eastern Nigeria, has lately assumed another alarming twist, which involved the forceful lock down of activities, and denial of other people’s right to free movement in the South-East, by the rebel Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and its overt and covert sponsors.”

“Various ethnic groups and individuals have been making remarks capable of breaking the unity of Nigeria, but I haven’t heard the government as the epitome of statehood, calling people to order”, Muhammad added.

Osinbajo signs 2017 budget, explains delay

 

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Actin President signing the budget in the presence of the principal leaders of the national assembly 

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday finally signed the 2017 Appropriation Act into law in the presence of the principal officers of the National Assembly and other top government officials.

The budget, christened: ‘Budget of Economic Recovery and Growth’, has a revenue projection of N5.08tn and an aggregate expenditure of N7.44tn. The projected fiscal deficit of N2.36tn is to be financed largely by borrowing.

Shortly after signing the document into law at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Osinbajo described the budget as an important milestone in the nation’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan that was unveiled in April by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He commended the Ministry of Budget and National Planning for preparing a good document, and the National Assembly for the rancour-free manner in which it was passed.

Osinbajo, however, explained that he delayed the signing of the budget because of the disagreements the Executive had about the changes introduced to the document by the Legislature.

He said the Executive’s stance was that the changes would affect some of the Federal Government’s priority programmes and would make implementation difficult or even impossible.

Osinbajo explained that he finally decided to sign the document after the leadership of the National Assembly gave a commitment to reinstate the budgetary allocations for all the important Executive projects, such as the standard gauge railway projects, the Mambilla power project, the Second Niger Bridge and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, among others, which the lawmakers had reduced to fund some of the new projects they introduced.

He noted that the reinstatement would be by way of an application for virement by the Executive, which the lawmakers had agreed would be expeditiously considered and approved.

The acting President stated, “The final presentation and the signing of the budget has been considerably delayed. This was largely due to disagreements we had about the changes introduced to our 2017 budget proposals by the National Assembly. The Executive took the view that the changes fundamentally affected some of our priority programmes and would make implementation extremely difficult, and in some cases, impossible.

“I must say that the entire leadership of the National Assembly led by the Senate President and the Speaker adopted a commendably patriotic and statesmanlike approach to our engagements on resolving these critical issues.”

Osinbajo added that during the discussions with the leadership of the National Assembly, it was resolved that the nation should return to a predictable January-to-December fiscal year.

Describing it as a particularly important development, he said it was in accord with the financial year of most private sector companies, underscoring the crucial relationship between the government and the private sector.

To this end, Osinbajo said on the understanding that the Executive would be submitting the 2018 budget proposals to the National Assembly by October this year, the leadership of the National Assembly had committed to working towards its passage into law before the end of 2017.

He said the budget he signed into law reflected the government’s commitment to ensuring strong linkage between the ERGP and the annual budgets.

Osinbajo also replied those who had been expressing concerns over the nation’s rising debt profile, saying the borrowings were still within sustainable limits.

He stated, “Let me assure those who have expressed concern about the growing public debt that we are taking several actions to grow government revenues as well as plug revenue leakages.

“This is because, notwithstanding the fact that our borrowings are still within sustainability limits, we are determined, in the medium term, to reduce our reliance on borrowings to finance our expenditures.”

The acting President explained that the nation’s economy was already showing signs of a gradual recovery as growth was headed towards a positive territory.

He noted that the first quarter Gross Domestic Product growth of -0.52 per cent compared favourably with -2.06 per cent in the first quarter of 2016.

He added that inflation was declining to 17.24 per cent from 18.74 per cent as of May 2016, while the external reserves were now $30.28bn as of June 8, 2017, up from $26.59bn on May 31, 2016.

Osinbajo added, “We are also gradually instilling confidence in our exchange rate regime. This improvement in the GDP growth and other macro-economic indicators are largely attributable to our strategic implementation of the 2016 budget as well as stronger macroeconomic management and policy coordination.

“To demonstrate our commitment to following through our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, the 2017 budget allocates over N2tn to capital expenditure, principally infrastructure.

“For instance, we are committing over N200bn to improve transport infrastructure such as roads and rail; over N500bn for investments in works, power, and housing; and N46bn for Special Economic Zone projects to be set up in each geopolitical zone.”

The Acting President said the signing of the budget would trigger activities in the domestic economy, which would lead to job creation and more opportunities for employment, especially for the youth.

He said it was because of the reality that government alone could not achieve the goal of delivering inclusive growth that the 2017 budget provided opportunities for partnerships with the private sector.

The National Assembly had on May 9 passed the budget estimates submitted by the President last December.

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