The prosecution failed to prove its case against Bukola Saraki beyond reasonable doubt by offering watery evidence.
Saraki allegedly committed the offence of not declaring his assets while he was Governor of Kwara State.
On Wednesday, June 14, 2017, the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) dismissed all charges against the senate president.
In the ruling, CCT chairman, Danladi Umar said the prosecution failed to prove its case against the senate president, beyond reasonable doubt.
Danladi was right--the prosecution was as shoddy as they come. The anti-graft agencies and the federal government bungled this one, big time.
And so, Saraki walked.
The federal government commenced its trial against Saraki with a 13-count charge.
On April 18, 2016 the federal government had added some more charges.
On April 27, 2016 more charges were added to swell the number to 16.
Between January 11, 2017 and February 23, 2017, the charges against Saraki had been increased to 18.
Why increase the charges when you can't prove just one, let alone 18?
According to the tribunal, the 18 charges were predicated on the testimony of the third prosecution witness and Chief Investigation Officer at the CCB, Mr Samuel Madujemu.
Madujemu said the information he had tendered before the tribunal was given to him by the “team”.
The term 'team' is invalid in law and has no constitutional or statutory backing whatsoever.
According to a ChannelsTV report of the proceedings; "this was a fatal flaw of the prosecution as the evidence rendered all evidence of the prosecution invalid hence the declaration that Mr Saraki was discharged and acquitted".
There were times during this trial when Saraki was accompanied to the courtroom by over 50 senators. There were times during this trial when Nigerians regarded the conduct of lawmakers as corruption fighting back. Through it all, Saraki and his legal team remained defiant and filed a no-case submission on June 8, 2017.
They knew the prosecution was going to bungle its case. And it did.
After the charges were filed, Saraki described his trial by the federal government as a “purely malicious and politically motivated prosecution aimed at undermining the person and office of the Senate President.”
After the case was thrown out today, Saraki said he has been vindicated.
“After undergoing the crucible of a tortuous trial, my vindication today calls for celebration,” the senate president said.
“It is my belief however that if there should be any celebration at all, it should be a celebration of the hopes that this judgment gives us as citizens that despite all the challenges that we face as a country, we are well on our way to building a country where the innocent needs not be afraid.
“On a personal note, I harbour no grudge against anyone, regardless of the role they might have played in the persecution that I had endured in the last two years.
“I believe that If my trial had in any way given hope to the common man that no matter the forces arraigned against him, he can still get justice in our courts, then my tribulation had not been in vain.”
In the end, Saraki may just have been innocent or guilty. But in a court of law, cases are decided on the basis of the evidence before the judge. As the prosecution, the federal government and anti-graft agencies offered very little evidence as the CCT chairman rightly noted.
This wasn't about corruption fighting back. It was about a lack of attention to detail and technicality on the part of the prosecution.
The case against Saraki wasn't diligently prosecuted.
And as long as the EFCC and ICPC continue to prosecute cases with this level of shoddiness, president Muhammadu Buhari's anti-graft war will continue to be viewed as nothing more than a circus or media trial because no convictions will be secured.