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Assets: Saraki’s trial begins tomorrow

The trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki is scheduled to begin tomorrow at the Code of Conduct Tribunal over 13-count charges. The Code of Conduct…

The trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki is scheduled to begin tomorrow at the Code of Conduct Tribunal over 13-count charges.
The Code of Conduct Tribunal filed the charges last week which range from anticipatory declaration of assets, under declaration of assets and false declaration of assets.
Saraki is accused of failing to declare some assets he acquired while in office as governor; acquiring assets beyond his legitimate earnings and operating foreign accounts while being a public office holder.
The offences dated back to his days as governor of Kwara state during which he served two four-year terms.
The offences, the charge said, violated sections of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution.
Mr. Saraki is also said to have breached Section 2 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act an infraction punishable under paragraph 9 of the said Fifth Schedule of the Constitution.
Sources at the Tribunal said Saraki has been served with the summons.
The charges were prepared by M.S. Hassan, a deputy director in the office of the Attorney General of the Federation.
In a statement by his media office the Senate President dismissed the charges as false, frivolous and politically motivated.
Senior lawyers, who spoke to Daily Trust on condition of anonymity yesterday, said upon conviction the Senate President could be asked to forfeit the said assets, vacate office and be banned from holding any public office for 10 years.
Also, credible sources at the headquarters of the EFCC told  Daily Trust yesterday that the anti-graft agency was planning to indict the Senate President on money laundering charges.
The sources said on condition of anonymity that the EFCC may prosecute him on money laundering and financial crime charges ‘predicated’ on the Code of Conduct Bureau’s charges.
The sources also said an ongoing investigation in the financial activities of Saraki’s wife, Toyin could also implicate the Senate President.
Saraki’s reaction 
* All the claims are false, incorrect and untrue.
* Saraki has consistently declared his assets as required by law at every point before resuming any political office and that of 2015 is not an exception.
*Surprising that CCB should  wait till 12 years later to be pointing out a alleged inconsistencies in a document submitted to it in 2003.
* Present effort is a desperate move initiated due to external influence and interference.
* Contrary to the procedure indicated in the law, the bureau never wrote to Saraki to complain of any inconsistency in his asset declaration forms.
* Saraki as Governor of Kwara State never operated a foreign account.
* Some of the issues contained in the charge sheet are subjects of earlier decided and on-going Court cases. These charges are mere forum-shopping.
* We therefore conclude that this is not an anti corruption driven case and cannot be part of the moves aimed at fighting corruption. It is simply a pure malicious and politically motivated prosecution aimed at undermining the person and office of the Senate President.
*That those behind the plot will meet Saraki in court. Case is based on outright fabrication and mischief and will not and cannot stand the test of justice.
* it should be noted that throughout his career as a public official democratically elected to high public service, Dr Saraki has always held himself, to global standards of transparency and accountability, to a far higher standard of diligence, disclosure, and compliance, than required or even requested by Nigeria’s Code Of Conduct protocols. Thus, Dr Saraki has always, lawfully and accountably, declared his assets, both directly owned, and in which he may derive any historical and on-going degree of beneficial interest.  
   12.   In view of the above, Senator Saraki hereby affirms his belief in the justice system and that when the proposed case comes to the tribunal, he will diligently state his case. He is also ready to co-operate with the Tribunal and other lawful government agencies in the bid to genuinely fight corruption and eliminate impunity in our public affairs.
* We also note that anytime you try to fight corruption or insist that the right thing should be done, the system will always come after you.
* This is another case of desperation to fight Dr. Saraki because of his recent stance on national issues.
Some of the charges
*SARAKI whilst as on or about September 16, 2003 made an anticipatory asset declaration claiming to have owned and acquired No. 15A & 1513 McDonald, lkoyi, Lagos through his company Carlisle Properties Limited in the year 2000 when the said property was in actual fact sold by the Implementation Committee on Federal Government Landed Properties in 2006 his companies Tiny Tee Limited and Vitti Oil Limited for sum of N396. 150 million.
*That between October 2006 and May 2007 Saraki acquired properties at No. 17A and 17B McDonald, lkoyi, Lagos from the Implementation Committee on Federal Government Landed Properties after his declaration of asset on assumption of office in2003 for N407, 200 million, which was not fairly attributable to his income, gift or loan approved by the Code 01 and which he wrongly claimed to have acquired from proceeds of sale of rice and sugar commodities
* That on or about  June 3, 2011 at the end of his tenure refused to declare Plot 37A, Glover Road, Ikoyi, Lagos which he acquired between 2007 and 2008 through his company, Carlisle Properties  Limited from the Central Bank of Nigeria for a total sum of N325 million.
*That on or about June 3 did make a false decimation in the Assets Decimation Form for Public Officers at the end of his tenure in 2011 bought his Government Landed Properties for a total sum of N325 million.
*That whilst being governor in September, 2003 did make a false declaration on the assumption of office by refusing to declare No. 1, Tagus Street, Maitama, Abuja otherwise known as Plot 2482, Cadastral Zone A08, Abuja which you claimed in your end of tenure asset declaration form in 2011 to have acquired in November, 1996 (from one David Baba Akawu).
*That September18 2003 upon assumption of office refused to declare No. 3, Tagus Street, Maitama, Abuja otherwise known as Plot 2481, Cadastral Zone A06, Abuja which he acquired through Carlisle Properties Limited from one Alhaji Attahiru Adamu before his assumption of office.
*That between August, 2009 and October 2012 while being governor did operate a bank account outside Nigeria when he transferred the aggregate sum of $3, 400, 000.00 (Three Million, Four Hundred Thousand Dollars) from his Guaranty Trust Bank Plc. domiciliary account No 441441953210 to the American Express Services Europe Limited no: 730580 for onward credit to his American Express Bank, New York card account No: 374588216836009.
*That on or about September 16, 2003 refused to declare his leasehold interest in No. 42, Remi Fani Kayode Street, !kepi, Lagos which he acquired through his company Skyview Properties Limited from First Finance Trust Limited on 12 December. 1996.
*That on or about 18. September, 2003 falsely claimed to own  No 42 Gerald Road, lkoyl, Lagos in which you claimed to be earning N110, 000 million per annum through Skyview Properties Limited when the said property was under construction
*That on or about June, failed to declare a loan of N375, Million  obtained from Guaranty Trust Bank in February 2010 the proceed of which he converted into Pound Sterling in the sum of 1, 518, 194,53 GBP and remitted to Fortis Bank SNNV as full and final payment of mortgage redemption for the undisclosed property he purchased in London.
*That on or about 25.August 2008 did operate a bank account outside Nigeria when he transferred the sum of $73, 223.28

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