Nigerian tribunal clears charges against Senate president

PUBLISHED: Thu, 15 Jun 2017 09:59:07 GMT

ABUJA (Reuters) – A Nigerian tribunal dismissed charges against the Senate president, the country’s third most powerful politician, of false declaration of assets on Wednesday.

Senate President Bukola Saraki’s time at the helm of Nigeria’s upper parliamentary chamber has been marred by numerous accusations of misconduct and investigations, though none have stuck.

Last October, he was cleared of altering Senate rules to get himself elected.

President Muhammadu Buhari, now halfway through his four-year term, came to power on a mandate to clean up corruption. But halfway through his four-year term, the results have been mixed, and one of his own senior advisors was suspended after a Senate investigation into embezzlement.

The Code of Conduct Tribunal cleared Saraki of the charges made in 2015, saying that the prosecutor and Code of Conduct Bureau’s case did not have enough substance to incriminate the Senate president.

A spokesman for Saraki did not respond to a phone call seeking comment.

The original charges from 2015 mostly related to the ownership of land held by Saraki’s company Carlisle Properties Ltd between 2003 and 2011.

Other charges related to his transfer of $3.4 million to an account outside Nigeria while he was governor of Kwara state, and sending 1.5 million pounds sterling to a European account to cover a mortgage for a London property.

At the time, the Senate president’s camp denied the allegations of wrongdoing.

(Reporting by Camillus Eboh, Writing by Paul Carsten, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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