The trial of Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, alongside two others on charges of forgery of Senate Standing Orders, was stalled before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Jabi, Abuja, due to the court’s vacation that commenced on Monday.
Saraki, Ekweremadu, and two co-accused – a former Clerk to the National Assembly, SalisuMaikasu, and his then deputy, Benedict Efeturi – were in court briefly and left as soon as they were informed that the court was not going to sit.
Meanwhile, a four-man team led by a former Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice of Kano State, Aliyu Umar (SAN), took over the prosecution of the case from the Director Public Prosecutions of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Diri, on Monday.
Diri was not present in court Monday, but the Umar-led team was around to take the new date for commencement of trial. The trial was adjourned till September 28.
Other members of the new prosecuting team are a Lagos-based public interest litigation lawyer, Jiti Ogunye; Raphael Origo, and a state counsel from the Federal Ministry of Justice, Yetunde Adeola-Cole.
The Federal Government through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation had on June 10 preferred the charges against Saraki and the other accused persons.
The accused persons were subsequently on June 27 arraigned on two counts of criminal conspiracy and forgery before Justice Yusuf Halilu of a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Jabi, Abuja.
The Federal Government stated that the offence of conspiracy is punishable under Section 97 (1) of the Penal Code Act; and offence of forgery with “fraudulent intent” punishable under Section 364 of the same law.
The court had after the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges on June 27, fixed Monday 11th July for commencement of trial.