Opinion: Saraki’s Acquital and Matters Arising by Emmanuel Odimba

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Opinion: Saraki's Acquital and Matters Arising by Emmanuel Odimba
Most of the teams presently prosecuting our corruption cases lack these qualities and unless something is done to improve the calibre of lawyers in these prosecution teams, the FG will continue on this loosing streak.

I have followed with keen interest the public resentment that has greeted the decision of the Code of Conduct Tribunal to uphold Saraki’s no case submission on the charges filed against him.
A lot of conspiracy theories are flying around as to why the court came to the conclusion it did. Such conspiracy theories include political manipulation and settlement by the ruling party, compromise of the prosecution and most popular of them, the compromise of the judiciary.


In as much as one cannot rule out any of the above possibilities, it is important Nigerians refrain from arriving at conclusions based on emotions, sentiments and preconceived mindsets.


I give this admonition because many of those who are commenting on the court’s ruling don’t even know what a ‘No case submission’ is all about. I have come to this conclusion because I hear people talk of the number of count charges;18 counts, the volume of documentary evidence tendered and the number of witnesses that testified for the prosecution. Some have even pointed to the fact that Saraki had foreign accounts and that he cannot account for his wealth. These issues in themselves do not translate to guilt or conviction.


Incidentally this legal doctrine of criminal law and procedure is not a brain child of the Nigerian legal system as it is practised in many other jurisdictions including the advanced Western world.

A no case submission can be made and sustained in a criminal case where the testimony/ies of the prosecution witness or witnesses do not establish a major ingredient/ingredients of the offence/offences charged, where the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses contradict themselves in material/major particulars and where the court cannot convict on the testimony/evidence of the prosecution witnesses even if the court were to rely solely on the prosecution’s case without any input from the defendant.


From the above it becomes clear that the job of prosecution is not an easy one and therefore requires thorough investigation, expertise and experience. My humble position is that most of the teams presently prosecuting our corruption cases lack these qualities and unless something is done to improve the calibre of lawyers in these prosecution teams, the FG will continue on this loosing streak.


The FG must liaise with the NBA to engage experienced lawyers who are experts in criminal law litigation to assist the FG at a token fee since it is obvious the FG cannot afford the kind of fees most of these defendants are willing to pay such lawyers.


I rest my case!

Emmanuel Odimba Esq

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