17th May, 2016
Ayorinde Oluokun/Abuja: The trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki on a 16-count charge of false assets declaration resumed at the Code of Conduct Tribunal on Tuesday.
At the resumption of the trial, the chairman of the Tribunal, Mr. Danladi Umar asked the defence counsel led by Mr. Kanu Agabi (SAN) to be more tidy in the cross examination of Micheal Wetkas, the first prosecution witness.
The defence has been cross examining the witness for four weeks now.
Mr. Umar who said he will ensure justice is done, no matter the pressure recalled that he was also under pressure during the trial of former Governor Ahmed Bola Tinubu, but was able to deliver his judgment in spite of it.
Mr. Umar said the defence cannot continue with the practice of allowing all its members of the team to take part in the cross examination.
He therefore asked Kanu Agabi, the lead prosecution to take over the task of cross examination.
Mr. Umar was supported by Rotimi Jacobs, the lead prosecution counsel who has been protesting the long drawn cross examination of the defence since last week.
Jacobs argued that it is not proper for the defence team to be using many “voices” to do the cross examination.
He added that the counsel who began the cross examination must end it while expressing his willingness to address the court on the issue.
The lead prosecuting counsel also said the court can regulate its own proceedings.
But this did not stop the defence from continuing with the long drawn cross examination, an action which forced Jacobs to stand up to interrupt the proceedings many times.
When Paul Usoro, SAN who was doing the cross examination was going on dwelling on the description of the houses for instance, Jacob intervened arguing that Usoro had already spent two days on this description.
“What I am trying to show is that the witness is lying when he said he knows that No 15 and no 15A are the same property,” but he was cautioned by the court to avoid the use of the word, lie after the witness protested.
“He might have represented the facts which is exactly what he did. The description is different, as of 2008, the defendant was not in possession of the property,” said Usoro.
Jacobs intervened, arguing that the witness is not the right person to answer the questions.
“He is overburdening the witness. I will call a witness who knows about it to come and give evidence,” said Jacobs who said he has a staff of the land registry as one of the witnesses he will call.
But Usoro replied that his cross examination was to show that the No 15 McDonald which the prosecution claimed is one property is actually four different buildings.
According to the defence lawyer, there was no 15A and 15b McDonald, Ikoyi bought by the defendant in year 2000, different from No 15 and Block 15 flats 1-4 which were sold by FG in 2006.
Rotimi however replied that if there is any confusion, it was caused by Saraki himself who described it various ways in his Assets Declaration Form.