Nigeria's legal authorities have denied claims that federal prosecutor Rotimi Jacobs has been dropped as the lead prosecutor in the corruption trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki.
Rebutting the story, which was contained in Authority newspaper, are Attorney General Abubakar Malami and the Director Of Public Prosecutions, Sa'idu Diri.
The Attorney General, who is currently in the United Kingdom, told SaharaReporters in a text message he was unaware of such move.
Asked if anyone could have done it in his absence and he mentioned that the Solicitor General, Taiwo Abidogun who he said acts on his behalf while traveling as “Minister of Justice” could take decisions in his absence. SaharaReporters tried Mr. Abidogun’s number severally but his telephone was shut down.
When we reached Mr. Diri, he dismissed the story as completely false.
SaharaReporters had blown the lid on recent maneuvers by Mr. Saraki to frustrate his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, including collusion between his legal team and Ministry of Justice officials led by Abidogun, to hide a motion filed to challenge the jurisdiction of the Code of Conduct Tribunal to try him for false declaration of assets.
One source told SaharaReporters that the news report was being sponsored by Saraki’s lawyers as a way of preparing the public for the removal of Mr. Jacobs from the case.
“A plot was hatched between one of Saraki’s lawyers, Prince Ajibola Oluyede and Patrick Ifeanyi Uba, the oil trader who once worked with failed ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s election campaign. Ifeanyi Ubah owns Authority newspaper and Oluyede was the lawyer who bought him a permanent injunction stopping the EFCC from arresting Uba for oil subsidy fraud,” our source stated.
Saraki had hired a former Attorney General of Nigeria, Kanu Agabi, to become his lead lawyer because Mr. Agabi claimed his presence as the lead counsel would help tame the lead judge, Danladi Umar and prosecutor, Mr. Jacobs. Both men had served Mr. Agabi in different capacity in the past.
Prior to Saraki’s hiring of Agabi, his agents had threatened Mr. Jacob’s aged mother forcing the prosecutor to move his mother from their hometown in Kwara state.
The Senate President and his lawyer became worried last week Friday when Mr. Jacobs came out swinging, telling the tribunal to dismiss a lame motion challenging the tribunal’s jurisdiction.
Saraki is doing everything he can to get Jacobs off the case as a new prosecutor means that the case would suffer more adjournments that would enable him to shop for more pliable judges to throw away the case. Mr. Saraki’s legal team are also hopeful that a federal high court judge, Abdul Kafarati, will give a favorable ruling on March 22nd in a case of fundamental rights enforcement where Saraki sought an order from the court to have the tribunal and its lead judge disqualified from trying him.
SaharaReporters has learnt that Saraki is putting several new plots in place to prevent his trial on Friday, including shopping for a medical reason to pre-empt the trial.