Ripples Nigeria - A three-minute call from a top security official (name withheld) altered the direction of judgement passed by Justice Abdulkadiri Kafarati of a Federal High Court in Abuja on Senate President Bukola Saraki last Friday, Ripples can exclusively report.
It was learnt that Kafarati, who earlier withdrew from the case based on reports that he had been compromised, had already prepared a favourable ruling for Saraki.
It was gathered that the camp of the Senate President was already in a boisterous mood, fully confident that Saraki was going to get off the hook.
In anticipation of this, sources confirmed that at least 10 editors of major newspapers met with Saraki at his official residence around 1am on Friday for briefing on how to report the much-expected ruling.
Each of them reportedly pocketed N2.5million to engineer news reports that will paint the former Kwara governor in the best possible light.
They were reportedly told to present him as a victim of high-wired political intrigues with the expected ruling further proving his innocence.
Ripples learnt that everything appeared fixed until few minutes when the Judge was preparing to enter the courtroom to deliver the ruling.
A call, reportedly from a top-level security official, however proved to be the game changer.
The security goon, it was gathered, told Kafarati of available intelligence reports on his alleged deals with Saraki.
The Judge, it was further learnt, was told of the existence of his call logs with the Senate President during which they extensively discussed the case.
The mention of the call logs, according to the source, melted Kafarati’s defence.
It was gathered that the call from the security goon was more or less a subtle blackmail meant to ask the Judge to choose between his career and saving Saraki.
He was said to have indicated he was willing to cooperate with the federal government to stave off a disgraceful prosecution.
This, it was learnt, was why he called for a three-hour extension of the ruling earlier slated for 9am.
The source said: “After he had backed down, he had to ask for a three-hour break during which he had no choice but to prepare a fresh judgement.
“That was the judgement he eventually delivered against Saraki. If not for the call, the Senate President would have gotten a much-needed reprieve through the backdoors.”
Kafarati ruled that the case filed by Saraki to stop his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) constituted a gross abuse of court process.
He said the same case had also been taken to the Federal High Court, Lagos; Court of Appeal and even the Supreme Court, where decisions were made against him.
The Judge upheld the preliminary objection of the Federal Government to the case, saying there was no need to go into the substantive matter.
He went on to dismiss the fear of Saraki that he would not get justice at the CCT as speculative, misplaced and had no place in law.
He maintained the CCT is a competent tribunal which derives its powers from the CCT Act and it has the powers to try criminal matters
Kafarati ruled that the prayer, which the plaintiff said was politically motivated was sentimental, adding that sentiments had no basis in law.