President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday denied instigating the ongoing corruption trial of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki. Mr. Saraki is being prosecuted at the Code of Conduct Tribunal for alleged false declaration of asset. His associates have alleged the trial is politically motivated.
Explaining the president’s stance on the trial, Mr. Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu, said in a statement that “The President has vowed to respect the rule of law and this is what he is doing by staying out of this matter.”
Although Messrs. Buhari and Saraki belong to the same party, APC, there has been no love lost between both men since Mr. Saraki rejected the will of his party and teamed up with the opposition PDP to emerge the Senate President.
Mr. Saraki was one of the leaders of the PDP who decamped to the APC last year. On Friday, the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, ordered his arrest for refusing to appear before it. Neither the police nor any other security agency has effected the directive with the Senate President currently in him hometown Ilorin, Kwara State according to his spokesperson.
The trial is expected to continue on Monday.
Read Mr. Shehu’s full statement below
The Presidency says that attempts to link the ongoing trial of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to the Presidency are unacceptable. Views to the effect that the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB and the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT can only act upon external instigation are equally uninformed.
A statement by Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President said that there is no place in law that the Bureau and the tribunal should take instructions from any quarters.
As an independent institution equal to any superior court of record, the tribunal is set up by the constitution to determine the issue of default, false declaration or forgery in assets declaration. This therefore is purely a judicial process and has nothing to do with the presidency.
If anyone has an axe to grind with what they are doing, they should do it in a judicial manner by challenging those actions in a proper court of law. Let them hire a good team of lawyers to prove their innocence.
Government has no desire to persecute anybody. The President has vowed to respect the rule of law and this is what he is doing by staying out of this matter. He has said times without number that the war against corruption has no sacred cows.
Even if the President wants to help, there is no way he can do anything. Is he going to ask the judge to stop the trial?
It is purely a judicial process, the type of which are routinely dealt with by the CCB and the CCT.
There are many cases like this that are going on.
The President has sworn to an oath to protect the constitution and will not violate that oath.