Head of Nigerian Senate in court for corruption

Nigerian Senate president Bukola Saraki leaves the courtroom in Abuja after being charged with falsifying parliamentary rules to get elected. (Philip Ojisua, AFP)
Nigerian Senate president Bukola Saraki leaves the courtroom in Abuja after being charged with falsifying parliamentary rules to get elected. (Philip Ojisua, AFP)

Abuja - Nigerian Senate president Bukola Saraki on Monday kicked off his corruption trial by denying he falsified parliamentary rules to get elected.

The influential Nigerian politician has been charged with two counts of criminal conspiracy and forgery and was in the dock alongside his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, at the high court in Abuja.

The clerk of the National Assembly, Salisu Maikasuwa, and his deputy, Benedict Efturi, are also facing the same charges.

According to the charge sheet, the defendants "with fraudulent intent forged" parliamentary documents and used them to get Saraki and Ekweremadu elected in June last year.

Conviction carries a maximum 14-year jail sentence.

Judge Yusuf Halilu granted all four men bail and adjourned the case until July 11.

Saraki, from Buhari's governing All Progressives Congress, became president of Nigeria's upper chamber of parliament unopposed after securing backing of the main opposition People's Democratic Party.

But he was not the APC's first choice, which led some to claim the charges against him are politically motivated.

Saraki is also facing charges of failing to disclose assets in a separate case relating to his time as a state governor from 2003 to 2011. He has denied wrong-doing.

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