Determined to win his on-going trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for false declaration of assets, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has brought in experts from the United States and Israel to join his lawyers led by Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN).
New Telegraph learnt that the experts are crack investigators, forensic and handwriting specialists with the mandate to provide information on witnesses and documents presented at the tribunal by the prosecution.
The experts, who reportedly arrived Lagos on Monday, would soon leave for Abuja to commence operations. A source, who disclosed this yesterday, said the information to be provided by the experts would assist Saraki’s legal team to win his battle against the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“The investigators will ferret out and scrutinise thoroughly all available information on the eight prosecution witnesses, including their school records, service records from their past and present places of employment and personal information that may help the defence team in the course of the trial. “Most of the so-called witnesses will not be credible when information concerning their life is presented publicly before the Tribunal. ”
It is also expected that with the fear that the prosecution may present forged documents, our team needs to be vigilant and pro-active considering the manner in which the proceedings before the tribunal is being conducted.
“Our people believe that with the way properties that have nothing to do with Saraki are being put on the charge sheet, there are tendencies that documents to sustain their claims may have been forged. All these the experts will screen and help the lawyers with information that may help them,” the source said.
In the charge against Saraki, he was alleged to have made false declaration in the Assets Declaration Form for Public Officers on assumption of office as Governor of Kwara State in 2003 by making anticipatory declaration of a property, No 15A and 15B McDonald, Ikoyi Lagos, when in actual fact the property was sold to him in 2006 in the sum of N396,150,000 by the Implementation Committee on the Federal Government Landed Properties.
Saraki was also alleged to have, between October 2006 and May 2007, while he was governor, acquired a property from the Federal Government in the sum of N497,200, 000; a sum which is not fairly attributable to his income, gift or loan approved by the Code of Conduct for Public Officers and which he wrongly claimed to have acquired lefrom proceeds of sale of rice and sugar commodities.
In addition, Saraki was alleged to have, on June 3, 2011, made a false declaration in the Assets Declaration Form for Public Officers at the end of his tenure as Governor of Kwara State in 2011 by refusing to declare Plot 2A, Glover Road, Ikoyi, Lagos which he acquired between 2007 and 2008 through his company, Carlisle Properties Limited from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for N325 million. Saraki was also alleged to be operating a foreign bank account while he was the governor of Kwara State.
He was alleged to have transferred $73, 223.28 from his GTB domiciliary account No 441441953210 to the American Express Bank, New York card account No: 374588216836009. Saraki had, after pleading not guilty to the charge, was admitted to bail on self-recognizance.
The CCT sitting in Abuja had, however, on March 24 refused the application filed by Saraki, seeking to quash the 13-count of false and anticipatory assets declaration preferred against him. Ruling in the application, chairman of the tribunal, Danladi Umar, affirmed jurisdiction to entertain the case. The tribunal, with the consent of the counsel, adjourned the trial till May 5.
The Federal Government had lined up eight witnesses against Saraki, among whom include degaltectives that investigated four assets declaration forms the Senate President submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
Those expected to mount the witness box to give evidence that could make or break the embattled Senate President are: Yahaya Bello, Michael Wetkas, Mustapha Abubakar Musa, Nura Ali Bako, Adamu Garba, Samuel Madojemu, Abdulrahaman Bayo Dauda and Nwachukwu Amazu.
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Peter Nwaboshi, yesterday said that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus would not support the emergence of an All Progressives Congress (APC) senator as the next President of the Senate if eventually Saraki lost at the CCT. He said PDP would seize the opportunity to produce the next President.
The senator, while fielding questions from journalists in Abuja, said: “Well, I wish APC the best of luck if they are making that wild goose chase. But I want you to mark what I’m saying. I was the first to address the press in Port Harcourt and I told them that Saraki was going to win the Senate Presidency and I gave them my reasons. Then, nobody ever thought that Saraki was going to win. People were saying that APC had decided. But it was clear to me that he was going to win and I had to address the press.
“I said Saraki was going to win and that he was going to get my vote. Eventually, we went there, he won. If, (but God forbid, because we don’t see it coming), by chance Saraki is removed; I can tell you that PDP will produce the next Senate President. “We only need three and we have it. The calculation is very clear to me.
The calculation is very clear for PDP. We know what it will take us. When I told them that Saraki was going to win, I did a lot of mathematical calculations based on the facts on the ground and it is even clearer to me now that the PDP will win it.
We will win it. “If anybody is thinking that a PDP man is going to vote against a PDP candidate, he is telling you a lie. We have people and we know how to get the people from APC. We will win and that will be very interesting. “What is happening in America is going to happen in Nigeria. I can tell you with what’s on the ground that we will produce the next Senate President,” he stressed.