Post Nigeria - The court room went silent as a grave yard as Michael Wetas, who is a detective at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, boldly mounted the witness box, in chilling details, exposing how the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, engaged in shady bank transactions running into billions, while he was the Executive Governor of Kwara State.
The witness shocked the audience when he told the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, that the Personal Assistant to Saraki made N600, 000 to N900, 000 deposits into his personal account 50 times in one day.
Looking at Saraki’s face, it was a dazing blow; he quickly adjusted himself on his seat while gazing steadily at the face of the EFCC detective. Some of the senators who came to the court with the senate president could not raise their heads up all throughout the witness’s report.
From all indication, the body language of some Senators who came to the court in solidarity, revealed that the end of Saraki is near.
“His fate has been failed. The fifteen minutes adjournment before calling out the witness, to me speaks volumes. The trial is a mere academic exercise.” A suspected pro- Saraki fan protested silently, while talking to no one in particular.
Unlike before, the senators left the court room amidst laughter, however, on Tuesday, April 5, it was a different ball game. They all filed into the coaster bus made available for them in silence.
Saraki in his battle for survival had lost another effort in a prolonged drama to have his trial adjourned.
Lawyers to Senate President led by Paul Usoro, had arrived at the CCT armed with a motion for adjournment, claiming they had again filed an appeal to stop the trial, a game they have played for many months.
The Prosecuting Counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, like a wounded lion had resisted all effort to adjourn the trial. He repeatedly told the court that the so-called appeal was nothing, but another ruse, pointing out that the paperwork submitted by Saraki’s lawyer shows that a proper appeal had not been filed, because the Supreme Court had already ruled on the matters being appealed.
After the legal cross fire from both sides, a member of the tribunal quickly interjected that the delay tactics being employed by Saraki’s lawyers will not work.
“The proceeding is hereby postponed to the next fifteen minutes to enable us rule on the merit of the argument,” Danladi blurted as the shout of “court” rented the court room.
The tribunal took a short break and upon returning, rejected Saraki’s application, saying it lacked merit.
In its ruling, the chairman of the tribunal, Danladi Umar, ruled that the application before the Court of Appeal cannot stop the commencement of trial based on the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
Earlier, the commencement of the trial was preceded by arguments by defence counsel, Paul Usoro, who informed the tribunal of an application for stay of proceedings at the Court of Appeal challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal to entertain the matter.
The trial thereafter commenced after Chairman of the tribunal, again shot down yet another attempt by the defence at an adjournment.
“Kanu can disappear, we don’t bloody care. Saraki must face justice,” one of the members of the audience said silently.
To many, the controversial absence of Saraki’s lead counsel, Kanu Agabi, before the commencement of the trial was a ploy to stop the wheel of justice.
“Danlandi is acting on a script. He must be following the instruction of the presidency. The fifteen minutes adjournment was not ordinary,’’ a source said at the end of the trial.
At the end of the Tuesday proceedings, the Senate President through his media aide, Yusuph Olaniyonu, noted that even though the prosecution tried to bring in some dramatic narratives, it was clear that they were merely thrashing around and hoping to titillate the public with salacious tales.
He added that he was hopeful, however, that when the time comes, his lawyers will have the opportunity to present his case.