Special Assistant to the President on Prosecutions, Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla, said on Saturday that the Federal Government had finalised its decision to appeal last Wednesday’s ruling of the Code of Conduct Tribunal discharging and acquitting the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, of charges of false asset declaration.
Obono-Obla, who vowed that no one would be allowed to get away with any act of corruption, said in a telephone interview with our correspondent that the government would file a notice of appeal against Saraki’s acquittal by Wednesday.
According to The PUNCH, the presidential aide, who works in the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, argued that the two-man panel of the CCT led by Danladi Umar, misapplied the law by adopting the wrong standard of proof in exonerating Saraki.
“Definitely we are going to appeal against the ruling in Saraki’s case. One of our grounds of appeal is that the tribunal misapplied the law. For instance, the standard of proof that the tribunal used is not applicable to charges of false declaration of asset.
“It (charge of false asset declaration) is a strict liability offence, so you cannot apply the standard of proof that is applied in the regular criminal proceedings.
“Surely, we will file the appeal next (this) week Wednesday.”
Obono-Obla had earlier in an interview with The PUNCH, described the CCT ruling discharging Saraki as a travesty of justice, pedestrian and outrageous.
He said on Saturday that the government was resolute in its fight against corruption and would appeal against all the recent “nonsensical” rulings delivered in some high-profile corruption cases.
“We are resolute. We are going to fight this war to the end. We must clean up Nigeria, otherwise the nation is doomed. We have gone back to the drawing board to change our tactics and strategies.
“Anybody who thinks he can get away with an act of corruption is dreaming. We are going to file an appeal against all the nonsensical rulings that we have got from our court in recent times.”
The Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja on Wednesday discharged and acquitted Saraki of all the 18 charges of false asset declaration and other related offences against him.
The two-man panel of the CCT led by its Chairman, Umar, unanimously upheld the no-case submission which Saraki filed after the prosecution closed its case with the fourth and the last prosecution witness testifying on May 4, 2017.