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EMBATTLED Senate President Bukola Saraki is scheduled to appear today before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Jabi, Abuja, for arraignment on charges of forgery. Saraki will also appear before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, for his ongoing trial over alleged false and anticipatory asset declaration. Both the FCT High Court and the CCT share a boundary in Jabi area of Abuja. Sources in the Federal Ministry of Justice confirmed to Nigerian Pilot yesterday that Saraki alongside the deputy Senate president, Ike Ekweremadu and their co-accused, would appear before Justice Yusuf Halilu for arraignment on two counts of forgery and criminal conspiracy today. Saraki, Ekweremadu, a former clerk to the National Assembly, Salisu Maikasu, and his deputy, Benedict Efeturi, were on June 10 charged with criminal conspiracy and forgery of the Standing Rules used for the leadership election of presiding officers of the Senate in June last year. The federal government stated that the offence of conspiracy was punishable under Section 97 (1) of the Penal Code Act, and offence of forgery with “fraudulent intent” punishable under Section 364 of the same law. Meanwhile, the CCT had on June 15 adjourned the trial of the Senate president till June 21. The tribunal adjourned for the hearing of a fresh motion filed by Saraki seeking an order of the CCT disqualifying its chairman, Danladi Umar, from further presiding over the case. Saraki filed his fresh application accusing Umar of bias based on the remark made by the tribunal chairman at the last proceedings on June 7, 2016, while warning the defence against delay tactics. Umar made the statement while warning the defence team that its delay tactics would not “reduce the consequences the defendant will meet in this tribunal at the end of the trial.” Saraki in his fresh application filed by his lawyer, Kanu Agabi (SAN), alleged that Umar’s statement would prejudice the outcome of the trial. Saraki is being prosecuted by the federal government before the CCT on 16 counts, including false and anticipatory asset declaration, which he allegedly made between 2003 and 2011 when he served as the governor of Kwara State. He is also accused of operating foreign accounts as a public officer and of receiving governor’s salary or emoluments in addition to his salary as a senator for some periods, after completing his two terms as governor and got elected as a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


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