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Saraki: CCT cautions lawyer not to delay proceedings

07 June 2016, 21:31

Abuja - The Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal Danladi Umar, has cautioned counsel to Senate President Bukola Saraki Mr Paul Usoroh (SAN), to restrict himself to questions that are relevant to the charge against his client in order not to delay the trial.

Saraki is standing trial on a 16-count charge bordering on allegations of false asset declaration and money laundering.

He had earlier pleaded not to the charges.

Umar’s caution followed a point of objection raised by the Prosecution Counsel Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), saying that the defence should not ask the witness regarding a company called Carlisle Properties and Investment Co. Limited.

The CCT Chairman urged the defence to subject their cross examination of the witness to relevant issues to avoid further delay of the trial.

He said that the tribunal would not condone a situation whereby the public would have an impression that the tribunal was delaying the proceedings.

The company was used to acquire Plot 2482 Tagu Street in Maitama, Abuja, which is the subject matter of count six of the charge.

Jacobs had argued that the question asked by the defence was not relevant to the charge because the company that acquired the property was not under investigation by EFCC.

The EFCC witness Mr Micheal Wetkas, is undergoing cross examination by defence counsel regarding exhibit 6, relating to the ownership of Plot 2482, Tagu Street, Maitama, which was not declared.

Wetkas had insisted that his investigation revealed that the undeclared property belonged to the defendant because it was acquired by a company belonging to him.

The EFCC lawyer, who earlier objected to the line of questions being asked by the defence, said that some of the questions were irrelevant and an attempt to further delay the trial.

He said, it was irrelevant for the defence to ask whether EFCC had investigated Carlisle or not because the company was not a subject matter of the charge.

Rotimi argued that the only relevant question to ask was whether the defendant declared the property or not.

Also read: Saraki's trial adjourned to June 7

He insisted that in a criminal trial, asking questions that were not either in the charge sheet or proof of evidence tendered before the court was irrelevant.

Responding, Usoroh demanded an apology from the prosecution for accusing him of asking irrelevant questions and for delaying the proceedings.

The lawyer also said that when the prosecution was giving evidence-in-chief through his witness (Mr Wetkas) nobody from the defence interrupted him.

He pointed out that the property was acquired 10 years before the defendant became the governor of Kwara.

The tribunal, however, adjourned further hearing on the case till June 15 to enable the lead counsel to the defence, Kanu Agabi SAN, attend to his medical condition.


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