The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and two others, will tomorrow be arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja, over criminal conspiracy and forgery of the Senate Standing Rules, 2015.
A source close to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation disclosed this to Daily Trust on Sunday yesterday.
The Federal Government had, through the office of the Attorney General filed the charges against the duo.
Others charged along Saraki and Ekweremadu are the former Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Abubakar Maikasuwa and his deputy, Mr. Benedict Efeturi. Maikasuwa was the Clerk of the National Assembly (CNA) when the alleged offence was committed.
The case file against the four accused persons with suit No. CR/219/16 has since been assigned to Justice Yusuf Haliru of the Federal High Court, Abuja before whom they are to be arraigned tomorrow.
In the affidavit attached to the case file, which was filed on June 10, 2016, the investigative police officer swore that the investigation into the case had been concluded.
The two count charges read: “That you, Salisu Abubakar Maikasuwa, Benedict Efeturi, Dr. Olubukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu, on or about, the 9th of June, 2015, at the National Assembly complex, Three Arms Zone, Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this court, conspired amongst yourselves to forge the Senate Standing Order, 2011 (as amended) and you thereby committed the offence of conspiracy, punishable under Section 97 (1) of the Penal Code Law.
“That you, Salisu Abubakar Maikasuwa, Benedict Efeturi, Dr. Olubukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu, on or about the 9th of June, 2015, at the National Assembly complex, Three Arms Zone, Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this court, with fraudulent intent, forged the Senate Standing Order 2011 (as amended), causing it to be believed as the genuine Standing Order, 2015 and circulated same for use during the inauguration of the 8th Senate of the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria when you knew that the said Order was not made in compliance with the procedure for amendment of the Senate Order. You thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 364 of the Penal Code Law.”
Following the election of principal officers for the Senate, some lawmakers on behalf of the Senate Unity Forum (SUF) petitioned the police, alleging forgery of the Senate Standing Rules 2015 that produced Saraki and his deputy, Ekweremadu.
The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, directed the police to investigate the petition to its logical conclusion.
The police had invited former Senate President David Mark and Senator Ekweremadu for questioning, but they both declined to honour the invitation. They were first summoned by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department in July 2015, to answer questions over their roles in the alleged forgery of Senate rules.
Also invited by the police were the former Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba and Senator Ita Enang, who served as chairman, Committee on Rules and Business in the Seventh Senate.
Mohammed Isa, a senior information officer in the Public Affairs unit at the Senate president’s office, said the recent charges against Sen. Bukola Saraki are new to them.
Isa said they only saw the story in the media, adding, “it is really curious and a completely new development. In fact, I can assure you that we did not receive the content of the charges in the office of the Senate president. However, we’re still watching how things unfold, and probably, by Monday the issue will become clearer,” he said.
Elsewhere, before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Abuja, Saraki, a two- term governor of Kwara State, is standing trial over alleged false assets declaration and corruption.
Our reporter was unable to get the reaction of the Senate Leader, Ali Ndume and the spokesperson of the Senate, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi.