On Wednesday, 14th June 2017, Danladi Umar, the Code of Conduct Tribunal judge, said the Senate President, Bukola Saraki did not have a case to answer on the false assets charge. He dismissed the 18-count charge for failure of the Federal Government to prove essential elements of all the allegations it leveled against Saraki.
Beyond the grandstanding of the President Buhari’s administration on matters of corruption, the case could not have been decided otherwise. Analysis of the case reportage since it commenced in September 2015 show that it was destined for the dustbin. From allegations without diligent investigation, late-coming prosecution witness, burnt evidence which a bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, adduced in its affidavit, and inept prosecution witness, no court worth its name could have convicted Saraki.
Let us not forget the side drama of the usual senators’ large entourage which accompanied Saraki to the court sessions, led by the “controversial lawmaker” facing recall debacle from Kogi State, who is also a member of the ruling APC. Those who prosecuted the case should be asked to look for another job as prosecution is definitely not their forte. Or maybe they deliberately decided to bungle it after coming to a political arrangement with the Senate President for the administration to have a smooth ride in a chamber its party has the majority.
Justice Umar himself showed signs he was relenting and prepared to ‘play ball’ after he offered Saraki water to drink during a session of the trial. Saraki rejected the offer. By this time rumours of corruption had been swirling around the judge himself. It must be clear now to Umar that he had been used for a job he did not understand. Saraki now has the last laugh.
The Buhari government should look at itself too as the war should begin at home. Allegations against its own officials often go uninvestigated and when an investigation is done, a rare occurrence, the citizens are not informed of the outcome. A case in mind is that of the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal. The nation is still waiting for the report of the committee headed by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo now acting president, on the suspended SGF.
All is not lost, but the government should do more and keep its house in order instead of pointing an accusing finger at others.