Appeal court orders continuation of Senator Saraki’s conduct tribunal trial on three charges.

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A court of appeal sitting in Abuja has ordered Senate President Bukola Saraki to face three charges at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

Tinuade Akomolafe-Wilson, the presiding judge, gave the order on Tuesday.

She struck out 15 of the 18 count charges filed against Saraki but said Nigeria’s number three citizen has to return to the CCT for the remaining charges.

The court held that the Senate President needed to provide answers to the “discrepancies” established by the prosecution that the property located at No 17A and B Mac Donald Street Ikoyi Lagos he claimed were bought from the proceeds of rice and sugar were bought by loan facilities from commercial banks.

On June 14, the CCT acquitted Saraki of the 18 charges of false asset declaration and other related offences preferred against him.

Danladi Umar, chairman of the tribunal, had held that with its four witnesses and 48 documentary exhibits tendered, the prosecution failed to establish a strong case against Saraki.

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

He also said the evidence of the first prosecution witness, Michael Wetkas, an operative of the EFCC, was unreliable.

Dissatisfied, the federal government headed to the court and filed an appeal against Umar’s ruling.

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 the 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 a 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 the sum to the United Kingdom for the full and final mortgage payment for a London property.

Additional charges against him included an 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 in the property at 42 Remi Fani-Kayode Street, Ikeja, Lagos.

The prosecution also alleged that while being a public officer, the ex-governor operated bank accounts outside Nigeria and failed to declare the foreign accounts to the CCB while being governor and a senator during the period.

Property 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

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