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The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has pleaded not guilty to three new corruption charges, added to the initial 13-count charge filed against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau.

The CCB had on April 18 added two charges to the suit against Mr. Saraki and increased it by an additional charge on Wednesday April, 27.

Mr. Saraki was first charged in September 2015 for alleged false and anticipatory declaration of assets.

His trial led to a fresh claim that the senate president is the owner of a Lagos home – a detail not mentioned in the initial charge.

After Mr. Saraki’s plea, one of his lawyers, Paul Usoro, told the tribunal that they would need time to make proper arrangements for their defence.

Earlier, Mr. Usoro had asked the tribunal to compel the prosecution to explain why it was amending the charge against Mr. Saraki.

The amended part of the charge reads: “That you on or about, September 16, 2013 within the jurisdiction of this honourable tribunal did make a false declaration in the asset declaration form for public officers who you filled and submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau upon assumption of office as the governor of kwara state in the year 2003 as governor of Kwara state by your failure to declare your leasehold interest in number 42, Remi Fani-kayode street Ikeja, Lagos which you acquired through your company, Skyview Properties Limited from First Finance Trust Ltd. on December 12, 1996 and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(1)(2) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act. CAP. C15, laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004 and as incorporated under paragraph 11(1)(2),I fifth schedule to the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and punishable under section 23(2) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act as incorporated under paragraph 18, Part I of the fifth schedule to the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

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“That you between June 2011 and October 2013, within the jurisdiction of this honorable tribunal, did receive monthly salaries or emoluments as governor of Kwara state and at the same time, from the federal government as a senator of the federal republic of Nigeria and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 6(a) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act. CAP. C15, laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004 and as incorporated under paragraph 2(a), Part I of the, fifth schedule to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and punishable under section 23(2) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal act as incorporated under paragraph 18, Part I of the fifth schedule to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).”

Mr. Usoro told the tribunal that based on Section 216 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, the prosecution had a legal obligation to explain its reasons for the amendment of the charge.
The prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, however said there was no need for such explanations, saying Section 216 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act allowed the prosecution to amend the charges against an accused person, and explain same to him at any time before the end of the trial.

In his ruling, Mr. Umar held that the prosecution has no need for any formal explanation to the defence counsel and dismissed the application by Mr. Usoro.

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