AGF, IGP, EFCC Ask Saraki Not To Politicise Trial At CCT
*Challenge Him To Defend Charges
THE Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Inspector General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase, yesterday advised Senate President Bukola Saraki to brace up to charges against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), rather than politicise his trial.
In a counter affidavit they filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja in response to a fresh suit by Saraki, the trio counselled him to devote his energy to defend the charge against him, instead of dissipating same on claims that his trial was politically motivated.
They denied being influenced by any political consideration to initiate the 13-count false asset declaration charge against him (Saraki) before the CCT.
The AGF, EFCC, IGP, Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation (DPPF), Mohammed Diri, and Muslim Hassan (a Deputy Director in the Federal Ministry of Justice) said Saraki’s trial was informed by the outcome of a joint investigation conducted by the EFCC, Department of State Services (DSS), Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) between 2003 and this year.
They noted that the investigation revealed, among others, that Saraki lied in the information he presented in the CCB Forms he completed between 2003 and 2011 in Ikoyi and Ikeja, both in Lagos State, using third party companies in which he had interest, with the intension of concealing his interests in such property.
They gave the name of the companies as Tiny Tee Limited; Vitti Oil Limited; Skyview Properties Limited; and Carlisle Properties.
The AGF, EFCC, IGP, Diri and Hassan added that Saraki lied in his claim that an official of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Bulus Michael, informed him that his trial was politically-motivated, saying no official of the ministry bears such name.
“The charges preferred against him before the CCT were based on the conviction that a prima facie case was disclosed after investigation and not on any political consideration.
“The 1st, 2nd, 4th, 10thand 11th respondents (AGF, EFCC, IGP, Diri and Hassan) are not politicians and they have no interest in who becomes the Senate President.
“The 1st, 2nd, 4th, 10th and 11th respondents do not take instructions from any politician, but are public officers and public offices, who are only interested in the performance of their statutory and constitutional duties.
“No one has made or is making any effort to trump up allegations against the applicant, but the charges that were preferred against him were preferred upon being satisfied that a prima facie case was disclosed against him.”
They denied Saraki’s allegation that his rights were being violated with his trial before the CCT, arguing that aside that the charges were validly preferred, the Court of Appeal, Abuja has, in its judgment of October 30, this year, upheld the CCT’s position that it possessed the jurisdiction to try Saraki, based on the charge.
In their notice of objection, they challenged the court’s jurisdiction to hear Saraki’s fresh suit, noting that the reliefs he was seeking in the new suit are contained in a similar suit marked ‘FHC/ABJ/CS/775/2015,’ which he earlier filed before the court and which has now been assigned to Justice Evoh Chukwu of Court 8 for hearing.
Saraki is, by the new suit, seeking to stop all the respondents, including the CCT and CCB, from proceeding with his trial, accusing them of violating his rights.
Last Monday, Justice Abdukadir Abadulkafarati heard an ex-parte motion for interim restraining order filed along with the new fundamental rights enforcement suit by Saraki.
The Judge declined to grant the applicant’s prayer, but instead directed that the respondents be served with the motion and other processes in the case for them to show cause yesterday (November 20) why the order sought by Saraki should not be granted.
Justice Abdulkafarati yesterday found that not all the defendants were served by the applicant, as ordered by the court, and refused argument by Saraki’s lawyer, Ajibola Oluyede, that he takes further steps in the case.
The Judge insisted that every respondent in the case must be served before any further steps could be taken in the case.
He consolidated the originating summons and preliminary objection, in view of his decision to hear all the processes simultaneously, and adjourned to December 2 for hearing.
The Judge ordered that hearing notices be issued on the 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th respondents (ICPC; CCB; CCT; CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar; Atadaeze Agu Azda, a CCT member; and Sam Saba, Director General, CCB), who are yet to be served as earlier ordered by the court.