The media team of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki has described as frivolous the allegations of false declaration of assets slammed against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau which said it will arraign him before Code of Conduct Tribunal
The team’s statement on Wednesday in Abuja reads:
The attention of Dr. Bukola Saraki, President of the Senate, has been drawn to a charge sheet being widely circulated on the online media, upon which he is expected to be tried at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
It should be noted that at the time of writing this statement, (10.00am on September 16, 2015), Dr. Saraki has not been served the court process. However, we recognise that as a public officer, he owes members of the public explanation for the allegations in the charge sheet.
We therefore assure all Nigerians:
That all the claims contained in the charge sheet are false, incorrect and untrue.
That Dr. Saraki has consistently declared his assets as required by law at every point before resuming any political office. So this year’s is neither different nor exceptional.
But it is surprising that the alleged charges are now referring to his asset declaration made in 2003 while in office as Governor of Kwara State to formulate their charges. They therefore ignored the recent declaration for which they last week issued an acknowledgement.
That we believe that the Code of Conduct Bureau following their processes in which after a declaration is submitted to the bureau, they ought to have carried out their verification of the assets and ascertain the claims made and not wait till 12 years later to be pointing out alleged inconsistencies in a document submitted to it in 2003.
This is why we are of the opinion that the present effort is a desperate move initiated due to external influence and interference.
It should also be noted that contrary to the procedure indicated in the law setting up the CCB, the bureau never wrote to Dr. Saraki to complain of any inconsistency in his asset declaration forms.
It should also be noted that Dr. Saraki as Governor of Kwara State never operated a foreign account.
That some of the issues contained in the charge sheet are subjects of earlier decided and on-going court cases. We therefore believe those behind filing of these charges are engaging in forum-shopping.
It should be noted that we do not know on whose authority these charges are filed when the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act clearly specify that any prosecution must be authorised by an Attorney General and we know the nation last had an AG in May 2015.
This is another clear indication that the CCT is acting under influence from outside its domain and therefore ready to bend the rules to achieve this obnoxious objective.
We therefore conclude that this is not an anti-corruption-driven case and cannot be part of the moves aimed at fighting corruption. It is simply a pure malicious and politically-motivated prosecution aimed at undermining the person and office of the Senate President.
That those behind this plot will definitely meet Dr. Saraki in court as this case which is based on outright fabrication and mischief will not and cannot stand the test of justice.
It should be noted that throughout his career as a public official democratically elected to high public service, Dr Saraki has always held himself to global standards of transparency and accountability, to a far higher standard of diligence, disclosure, and compliance, than required or even requested by Nigeria’s Code Of Conduct protocols.
Thus, Dr Saraki has always, lawfully and accountably, declared his assets, both directly owned, and in which he may derive any historical and on-going degree of beneficial interest.
In view of the above, Senator Saraki hereby affirms his belief in the justice system and that when the proposed case comes to the tribunal, he will diligently state his case. He is also ready to co-operate with the Tribunal and other lawful government agencies in the bid to genuinely fight corruption and eliminate impunity in our public affairs.
We also note that anytime you try to fight corruption or insist that the right thing should be done, the system will always come after you. This is another case of desperation to fight Dr. Saraki because of his recent stand on national issues.