LAST MINUTE EFFORTS TO STOP FORGERY PROSECUTION HITS ROCK

A laast-minute effort by the leadership of the Senate to frustrate the scheduled arraignment of its presiding officers, Senate President Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, at a Federal Capital Territory High Court, failed on Wednesday during a closed session that lasted for about two hours.SARAKI, EKWEREMADU

The PUNCH learnt that the leadership had suggested the withdrawal of the case by the litigants, who are members of the Senate Unity Forum, a suggestion that the affected persons turned down on the grounds that the case was now being handled by the Federal Government.

Saraki, according to a Senator, who spoke to one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity because it was against the Senate convention to disclose issues discussed in the execute session, appealed to the litigants to withdraw the case in line with the recommendations of the peace committee.
The Senate Peace and Reconciliation Committee, led by Senator James Manager, had, in its report, recommended among others, the withdrawal of the suit, the recomposition of the committees and the disbandment of groups within the Senate.

One of our correspondents learnt that members of the SUF, who took the case to court, said the matter was now beyond them as the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, had taken over the case.

The source added, “The senators, who went to court, were of the opinion that the case had attained another dimension because it was the Federal Government that is now prosecuting those who allegedly produced the fake document.”

A copy of the document obtained on Wednesday showed that the panel accused Saraki of unduly favouring some members in appointments to juicy committees.

The panel recommended the restructuring of the committees so that the aggrieved senators would be pacified.

I can’t face CCT, forgery trials together, Saraki tells court

Meanwhile, Saraki, has asked a High Court of the FCT, Jabi, Abuja, to quash the forgery charges instituted against him and other co-defendants.

He urged the court to, in the alternative, adjourn the case indefinitely.

Saraki, in the application, which his lawyer, Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN), filed on Wednesday, said compelling him to face the fresh forgery charges alongside his ongoing trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal would jeopardise his right to fair hearing.

The Senate President is currently being prosecuted before the CCT on 16 counts, including false and anticipatory asset declaration.