Saraki Senate President faces 14-year jail term if convicted

According to the Section 23 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act Saraki may also lose his position, 10 years ban form holding public...

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Senate President Bukola Saraki during his trial at the Conduct of Conduct Tribunal. play

Senate President Bukola Saraki during his trial at the Conduct of Conduct Tribunal.

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Following the verdict of the Supreme Court on Friday, February 5, that the trial of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on false declaration of assets, must go on at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), the senate leader is facing 14 years jail term if convicted.

The Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act has empowered the Code of Conduct Tribunal to impose any of the punishments prescribed in section 23 of the act.

According to the Section 23 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act Saraki may also lose his position, 10 years ban form holding public and forfeiture of any asset related to the alleged offence.

The Act provides:  “(1) Where the tribunal finds a public officer guilty of contravening any of the provisions of this act, it shall impose upon that officer any of the punishments specified under subsection (2) of this section.”

The Section 23(2) stipulates: “The punishment which the tribunal shall impose shall include any of the following: (a) vacation of office or any elective or nominated office as the case may be; (b) disqualification from holding any public office (whether elective or not) for a period not exceeding 10 years; (c) seizure and forfeiture to the state of any property acquired in abuse or corruption of office.”

The prescribed sanctions are also provided for in paragraph 18 of Part 1 of the Fifth Schedule to the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

READ: Senators vow to stand by Saraki, say trial is a political vendetta

However, to show that the prescribed sanctions may not be exhaustive, as the Act employs the word “include,” section 23(3) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act provides: “The punishments mentioned in subsection (2) of this section shall be without prejudice to the penalties that may be imposed by any law, where the breach of conduct is also a criminal offence under the Criminal Code or nay other enactment or law.”

If Saraki is found guilty of breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers, he may also go down for perjury, given that his asset declaration was done under oath.

The Criminal Code Act prescribes imposition of 14 years jail for perjury.

Section 118 of the Criminal Code Act states: “Any person who commits perjury is liable to imprisonment for 14 years. If the offender commits the offence in order to procure the conviction of another person for an offence punishable with death or with imprisonment for life he is liable to imprisonment for life.”

However, according to a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Sebastine Hon, who spoke to The Sun, what constitutes perjury depends on the law creating the crime. Whether merely falsely swearing to an oath amounts to perjury, he said, depends on the law creating it.

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