Bukola Saraki, Nigeria’s Senate President has pleaded “not guilty” to three new corruption charges, added to the initial 13-count charge filed against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau. The CCB had on April 18 added two charges to the suit against Saraki and increased it by an additional charge on Wednesday April, 27.. Saraki was first charged in September 2015 for alleged false and anticipatory declaration of assets.
His trial led to a fresh claim that the senate president is the owner of a Lagos home – a detail not mentioned in the initial charge. After Saraki’s plea, one of his lawyers, Paul Usoro, told the tribunal that they would need time to make proper arrangements for their defence. Earlier, Usoro had asked the tribunal to compel the prosecution to explain why it was amending the charge against Mr. Saraki.
Usoro told the tribunal that based on Section 216 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, the prosecution had a legal obligation to explain its reasons for the amendment of the charge.
The prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, however said there was no need for such explanations, saying Section 216 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act allowed the prosecution to amend the charges against an accused person, and explain same to him at any time before the end of the trial. In his ruling, Umar held that the prosecution has no need for any formal explanation to the defence counsel and dismissed the application by Usoro.