By Dipo Awojobi – Senate President Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu were Monday granted bail in the commencement of trial in the matter involving the alleged forgery of Senate Standing Rules.
The duo had pleaded not guilty to charges of forgery before a Federal FCT High Court, sitting in Jabi.
Two officials of the Senate were also being tried on the same charges – the outgoing clerk to the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa and the deputy clerk to the National Assembly, Ben Efeturi also pleaded not guilty.
The four were accused of altering sections of the Senate Standing Rules with which the presiding officers of the Senate were elected on June 9, 2015.
Meanwhile the court, presided over by Justice Halilu Yusuf has adjourned for one hour to enable the prosecutor, Mohammed Diri, Director of Public Prosecution Prosecution, DPP responds to request by the defence counsel that the four accused should be granted bail.
Diri told the court that the Federal Government is opposed to the bail application.
He asked the court for an hour adjournment to enable him file a counter affidavit to oral application for bail made by the defence counsels.
The forgery charge signed by the principal state counsel, Federal Ministry of Justice, D. E. Kaswe against the four accussed reads thus, “That you, on or about June 9, 2015, with fraudulent intent, forged the Senate Standing Orders 2011 (as amended) causing it to be believed as the genuine Standing Orders 2015 and circulated same for use during the inauguration of the 8th Senate when you knew that the said order was not made in compliance with the procedure for the amendment of the Senate orders. You thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 364 of the Penal Code laws.”