The trial of Nigeria’s Senate President, Bukola Saraki began on Friday at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT)in the country’s capital, Abuja.
Nigeria’s third most powerful man appeared before the CCT with 66 lawyers on his defence team, at the end of the day’s proceedings, the case was adjourned to March 18.
Saraki is accused of falsely declaring his assets when he served as governor of Kwara state in central Nigeria between 2003 and 2011.
We are anxious that this matter be heard and speedily concluded. We are just as anxious as the prosecution ... and I want to assure you that the applications we have made are made in good faith, in the interest of justice, according to law.
The head of the upper house of Nigeria’s parliament has pleaded not guilty to the charge of false declaration.
Alleged False Assets Declaration: Saraki’s Trial Stalled: The trial of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki … https://t.co/gqwbGDYaZK— Channels Television (@channelstv) March 11, 2016
He faces 13 charges most of which relate to the ownership of land held by his company, Carlisle Properties Ltd during his tenure as governor.
He is also accused of transferring $3.4 million to an account outside Nigeria and sending 1.5 million pounds to a European account to pay the mortgage for a property in London.
Saraki’s media team has dismissed the allegations describing them as “false, inaccurate and untrue”.
Outside the courthouse on Friday, his lead counsel Kanu Akabi told journalists: “We are anxious that this matter be heard and speedily concluded. We are just as anxious as the prosecution … and I want to assure you that the applications we have made are made in good faith, in the interest of justice, according to law.”
Saraki stands to lose his position as Senate President if found guilty by the tribunal which is a special court set aside to try asset declaration misdemeanors. He would also be barred from holding any public office for up to 10 years and could be jailed.