September 22, 2015
- President of the Nigerian Senate, the third in line in
Nigeria's political hierarchy appears before Code of
Conduct Tribunal to answer to a 13-count charge relating
to his conduct in office. Takes a plea and is to appear
again next month. This is how the Rule of Law operates
in law-abiding and God-fearing societies unlike the
jungle justice system of Sierra Leone.
Dr Olubukola Abubakar Saraki is President
of the Senate, the third most powerful political figure
after the President and the Vice President.
His occupation of this office could
have given him a sense of being above the law and so
when he was ordered to appear before the Code of Conduct
Tribunal, he could well have brushed such a summon aside
as he was cocksure that his lawyers would block any such
It would seem his lawyers tried their
best to delay the arrest warrant issued for him and when
he failed to appear before the Tribunal as ordered on
Friday last week, the head of the Tribunal would have
none of it. His lawyers gave assurances that come
yesterday Monday, they would produce him at the Tribunal
but alas, he again failed.
It was becoming a test of will and
strength of the law between the Senator and the
Tribunal. In the end, the forces of the law empowered to
probe allegations of the like nailed on the Senator won,
and today Senator Olubukola Abubakar Saraki was in court
and was led to the enclosure in court reserved for
Reports say that at least fifty
Senators were in court to give him what they call
support. He, the President of the Senate, sat there as
the 13 charges against him were read out. Most if not
all of the allegations against him relates to
declarations he made on the statutory asset declaration
forms for Public Office holders.
The tribunal believes he made a number
of false statements about his assets. He is also alleged
to have breached another key provision of the
Code of Conduct
which bars Public Office holders from operating bank
accounts outside Nigeria.
"3. Prohibition of Foreign Accounts -
The President, Vice President, Governor, Deputy
Governor, Ministers of the Government of the Federation
and Commissioners of the Governments of the States,
members of the National Assembly and the Houses of
Assembly of the States, and such other public officers
or persons as the National Assembly may by law prescribe
shall not maintain or operate a bank account in any
country outside Nigeria."
The Nigeria-based online outlet
Premium Times has
this bit -
"The President of the Senate, Bukola
Saraki, has arrived the courtroom of the Code of Conduct
Tribunal in Abuja to face trial over a 13-count charge
of corruption levelled against him by the Code of
Conduct Bureau. Mr. Saraki arrived the tribunal premises
at 9:32 a.m., accompanied by “about 50 senators and some
members of the House of Representatives”, his
spokesperson, Yusuph Olaniyonu, told PREMIUM TIMES.
Some of the senators in court,
according to a PREMIUM TIMES reporter at the trial, are
Theodore Orji, Sam Egwu, Ike Ekweremadu, Shaba Lafiaji,
Aliyu Wamakko, Rafiu Ibrahim, Tayo Alasoadura, Hamma
Misau, Samuel Anyanwu, Sabi Aliyu Abdullahi, among
others. The Chairman of the Tribunal came into the
courtroom at 10.32 a.m, and apologised for the delay in
the commencement of proceeding.
He said the tribunal was sorting out
some matters. This newspaper learnt that the Senate
President and his supporters first converged on the
National Assembly early on Tuesday morning from where
they took off in a convoy of buses for the tribunal. One
of the senators, who asked not to be named, said he and
his colleagues decided to provide cover for the senate
president to prevent him from being arrested or
humiliated by the police.
A supporter of the Senate President,
now also inside the courtroom, told PREMIUM TIMES, “We
are already seated. No shaking. The plan is to humiliate
the man, not minding if they break the law or violate
“We have nothing to fear. After Saraki
has exercised his fundamental human rights in relevant
courts, we are here to to show the lies contained in the
Mr. Saraki had on Monday released a
statement, saying he was now ready to attend his trial,
days after he battled frantically to use the courts to
halt the trial. At the hearing, Mr. Saraki’s lawyers
objected to the sitting contending that the Tribunal was
incompetently constituted. They argued that the 1999
Constitution provided that the Tribunal can only sit
with three of its members, namely the chairman and two
members present as against two – chairman and one member
– which was the case when the trial resumed.
However, Mr. Umar responded by
referring to the Interpretation Act, which says the
chairman and one member could sit during any trial.
Daily Mail has also
been following the unfolding drama.
"The tribunal, a special court that
tries asset declaration misdemeanors, charged Saraki
last week and issued a warrant for his arrest on Friday
after he failed to appear before the court. "I will not
keep him (Saraki) here. I will let him go," said
tribunal chairman Danladi Umar, releasing the senate
president on bail and adjourning the hearing until
The 13 charges mostly relate to the
ownership of land held by his company Carlisle
Properties Ltd between 2003 and 2011. Other charges
relate to his transfer of $3.4 million to an account
outside Nigeria while he was governor of Kwara state,
and sending 1.5 million pounds sterling to a European
account to cover a mortgage for a London property.
Saraki's media team has previously called the
allegations "false, incorrect and untrue" and said they
had been brought under outside influence.
Saraki secured the position of senate
president in June after a no-contest vote, mainly with
the backing of the opposition. The move was
controversial, prompting outrage from some members of
the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) who backed
other candidates and had been meeting outside of the
National Assembly when the decision was made."
Here's a section of the Code of
Conduct that should be of interest to our very own Head
of the Anti Corruption Commission one Joseph Fitzgerald
Kamara who we have learnt has had his contract extended
for another five-year term.
Could this be a reward for Joseph
Fitzgerald Kamara's turning a blind eye to the complete
disregard of the Anti Corruption Commission laws? We
think so because up to this time, Sierra Leoneans have
not seen the details of the much-trumpeted Declaration
of Assets form that the rat known as Ernest Bai Koroma
is reported to have submitted to the Anti Corruption
The failure to make public this
document sent shock waves throughout the country as many
viewed it as another scam by the smoke and mirrors
occupant of State House. In the wake of this, many
Public Officers in Sierra Leone refused to fill out
Asset Declaration Forms until, they say, the President's
presentation was made public.
Here's a part of what the Anti
Corruption Act of 2008 states -
Penalty for failure to furnish information and for false answers.
55. Any person who (a)
fails to furnish any statutory declaration or statement as required in
subsections (1) to (3) of section 54; or
(b) in making any statement or furnishing any information under section 54,
willfully makes any false statement or any statement which he does not believe
to be true, commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not
less than five million leones or to imprisonment for a term not less than one
year or to both such fine and imprisonment.
Kindly note that
Nigeria's President Buhari
has declared his assets as required by law and this has
been made public. Among his assets -
Five homes and two mud houses, as well
An orchard and a ranch with 270 head
25 sheep, five horses and
a variety of birds and Shares in three
That is how an honest, law-abiding
Head of State behaves - leading by example and not the
antics of the anti-Constitution, anti-people rat
occupying State House in Freetown.
We would again like to remind the Anti
Corruption Commission of what the Anti Corruption Act
says with regards to -
Independence of the Commission -
9. (1) The Commission shall act independently, impartially, fairly and in the
(2) Subject to this Act, the Commission shall not, in the performance of its
functions, be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority.
With this in mind and a public
document, we are at a loss as to why the so-called
Parliamentary Leader Rass-in has not been hauled before
the courts for breaching the rules of the Commission
after he and his cronies sought to prevent the Anti
Corruption Commission from investigating the various
breaches and rampant thieving exposed by the
Auditor General's report
on the handling of the funds intended for the battle
against the Ebola Virus Disease.
Parliament could have come with its
own remedy to protect the rat and his cronies but this
should not stop the Anti Corruption Commission whose
legal and Constitutional duty is to investigate what is
been seen by many as an outright thieving enterprise the
actors of which are clearly named in that report.
Kindly read through the provisions of
the Anti Corruption Commission as they relate to -
PART VIII - INTEGRITY IN PUBLIC LIFE -
Public officers to declare assets and liabilities
119. (1) Every public officer shall within three months of becoming a public
officer deposit with the Commission a sworn declaration of his income, assets
and. liabilities and thereafter not later than 31st March in each
succeeding year that he is a public officer, he shall deposit further
declarations of his income, assets and liabilities and also while leaving
(6) Where a public officer who is required to furnish a declaration fails to do
so in accordance with this section or without reasonable cause, fails to furnish
details in accordance with the prescribed form, the Commission shall publish
such fact in the Gazette and in at least two daily newspapers published
in Sierra Leone or broadcast such fact on a radio station in the locality of
such public officer’s last known place of residence .
Examination and publication of declaration.
120. (1) The Commission shall examine every declaration furnished to it and may
request from the declarant any information or explanation relevant to a
declaration made by him, which in its opinion, would assist it in its
(2) Where upon an examination under subsection (1), the Commission is satisfied
that a declaration has been fully made, it shall publish or cause to be
published a certificate in the Gazette in the form prescribed by the
(3) Where the Commission publishes or causes to be published a certificate under
subsection (2), any person may make a written complaint to the Commission in
relation to that certificate.
Power to investigate particulars in declaration.
121. (1) Where
(a) upon an examination under section 121, the Commission is not satisfied that
a declaration has been fully made, it may decide that further investigation is
(b) after a certificate has been published in the Gazette under section
121 any person makes a written complaint to the Commission in relation to that
certificate, the Commission, after consideration of the complaint, may decide
that the complaint should be investigated.
Offences in relation to declarations.
122. Any person who (a) fails without reasonable cause, to furnish to the
Commission a declaration which he is required to furnish in accordance with the
provisions of this Act;
(b) knowingly makes any false statement in such declaration;
(c) fails without reasonable cause to give such information or explanation as
the Commission may require;