Onnoghen: Adesina, Oyeniyi Disagree Over Legality Of Procedure

Mr Femi Adesina and a political scientist, Akinloye Oyeniyi, have disagreed over the procedure that led to the conviction of Justice Walter Onnoghen by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

Adesina who is the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity insisted that the Federal Government followed due process in the case.

“That’s a position that has been there since January when the saga started, but one thing about this Presidency is that it does things according to procedure,” he told Channels Television during his appearance on Politics Today on Friday.

READ ALSOOnnoghen Rejects CCT’s Judgement, Files Notice Of Appeal

The presidential aide added, “What happened which a lot of people interpreted as sacking the CJN was just a suspension. It was clear; the CJN was suspended prior to the completion of the procedure that started then with his arraignment at the CCT.”

The CCT had convicted Justice Onnoghen and removed him from office as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).

Justice Walter Onnoghen

 

It also banned him from holding public office for the next 10 years and ordered the judge to forfeit all five accounts said not to have been declared by him between 2009 and 2015.

The judgement has sparked mixed reactions, as some faulted it while others said it was appropriate.

Explaining further the procedure that led to the judgement, Adesina affirmed that the government never sacked Justice Onnoghen as alleged.

He said, “Before he (Onnoghen) threw in resignation, he was just suspended and not sack. So, the matter of wrong procedure does not arise at all. Nobody is above the law, not even the judiciary.”

Oyeniyi, however, disagreed with the explanation by the presidential aide and faulted the genesis of the whole issue.

He insisted that Onnoghen was still a sitting CJN as at the time when the government filed the charges against him at the Tribunal.

The political scientist, therefore, stated that the tribunal lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the case, referring to a case involving Justice Ngwuta.

He argued that the Constitution provided that it was only the National Judicial Council (NJC) that has the power to discipline a judicial officer.

“We have to look at this judgement; you know the issue started somewhere before it ended where it ended,” said Oyeniyi.

He added, “You can’t jump the NJC and go to the CCT.

“First, let’s look at the issue of jurisdiction because when a particular court or tribunal does not have jurisdiction to hear a particular case … if you continue to hear that case, whatever that is going to be the outcome of that case, you are building that particular structure on a no foundation.”

Onnoghen Rejects CCT’s Judgement, Files Notice Of Appeal

Onnoghen Rejects CCT's Judgement, Files Notice Of Appeal

 

Justice Walter Onnoghen has rejected the judgement of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) which convicted him of six counts of false declaration of assets preferred against him by the Federal Government.

Shortly after the judgement delivered on Thursday, the judge filed a notice of appeal at the Court of Appeal in Abuja to challenge the ruling of the Tribunal.

In the notice, a copy of which was sent to Channels Television, the “Federal Government of Nigeria” was listed as the only respondent.

READ ALSOOnnoghen Convicted, Banned From Holding Public Office For 10 Years

Part of it read, “Take notice that the appellant herein, Justice Onnoghen Nkanu Walter Samuel being dissatisfied with the rulings/judgement of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Coram Danladi Umar (Chairman), William Atedze (Member I) and Julie A Anakor (Member II) delivered on the 18th of April, 2019, wherein it ruled on the application challenging its jurisdiction and to recuse itself from the proceedings as well the judgement on the substantive matter against the appellant, do hereby appeal upon the grounds set out in paragraph 3 hereof and will at the hearing of the appeal, seek the reliefs and orders set out in paragraph 4.”

In one of the 16 grounds, Justice Onnoghen said the CCT erred in law when it dismissed his application challenging its jurisdiction and thus, occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice.

He added that the Tribunal erred in law when it dismissed his application seeking the chairman to recuse himself from further proceedings on the ground of “bias”.

Justice Onnoghen, however, sought an order of the appeal court allowing his appeal and that the CCT lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the case.

He also asked the court to set aside his conviction as well as discharge and acquit him, among other prayers.

The Tribunal had convicted Justice Onnoghen and removed him from office as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).

It also banned him from holding public office for the next 10 years and ordered the judge to forfeit all five accounts said not to have been declared by him between 2009 and 2015.

The Tribunal held that the government proved beyond reasonable doubt that Justice Onnoghen breached the Code of Conduct for Public Officers.

Read the full document below:

UPDATED: Onnoghen Convicted, Banned From Holding Public Office For 10 Years

 

The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has convicted the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, and banned him from holding any public office for the next 10 years.

He was convicted on six counts of false declaration of assets.

The CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar, during Thursday’s proceedings, held that Justice Onnoghen was not being charged as a judicial officer but an ordinary public officer and as such, the ruling in Justice Ngajiwa vs the Federal Government does not apply to the Tribunal.

He stated that the Tribunal had jurisdiction to try the defendant and that his prosecution was competent without regards to Section 158 Subsection 1.

PHOTOS: Onnoghen Arrives At CCT For Trial

In relation to the previous decision by the Tribunal in the trial of a Justice of the Supreme Court, he noted that the tribunal was at liberty to reverse itself, especially if that decision was taken with the wrong impression.

Mr Danladi also ruled on an application that the CCT Chairman should recuse himself because of a case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He held that the prosecution has been able to prove that there was no case against him before the anti-graft agency.

The Tribunal chairman stated that the EFCC had withdrawn the case against him on November 1, 2018.

He added that the Tribunal is not an appendage of the Presidency and there is a CCT without the chairman and as such, the Tribunal rejects the application.

Delivering judgment, Mr Danladi held that the Tribunal considered the submission of the prosecution and the statement and evidence before it.

He explained that they found them worthy of consideration and more than enough to hold the view that the defendant has contravened the provisions of the Code of Conduct for public officers.

The CCT chairman said it was contained in evidence six where the defendant admitted by himself that he forgot, adding that the issue of partial declaration does not arise.

He held that the Tribunal believed the facts that were before it since the defence could not disprove it, saying it was “crystal clear” that the defendant was in clear breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers.

Reading the sentence, Mr Danladi said the Tribunal came to the conclusion that the defendant has falsely declared his asset by failing to declare the five accounts listed in the charge sheet.

He asked the defence team if it has anything to say and the team and Justice Onnoghen answered in the negative.

The Tribunal, thereafter, convicted Justice Onnoghen and removed him from office as the CJN and Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).

Justice Onnoghen was also banned from holding public office for the next 10 years and ordered to forfeit all five accounts said not to have been declared by him between 2009 and 2015.

The Tribunal held that the Federal Government had proven beyond reasonable doubt that Justice Onnoghen breached the Code of Conduct for public officers.

Timeline: Onnoghen’s Tenure And Trial

October 10, 2016:  NJC recommended Justice Onnoghen as CJN to President Muhammadu Buhari.

November 11, 2016: As most senior at the Supreme Court Justice Walter Onnoghen took over leadership of the judiciary in an acting capacity.

February 7, 2017: Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo transmitted Onnoghen’s name to the Senate for confirmation as substantive CJN.

March 1, 2017: Senate screened and confirmed Onnoghen.

March 7, 2017: Onnoghen was sworn in as the 17th substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) by the acting President, Yemi Osinbajo.

READ ALSO: CCT Commences Judgement For Onnoghen’s Trial

January 7, 2019: A civil society group, Anti-corruption, and Research-based Data Initiative (ARDI), petitioned the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), listing a number of allegations against Justice Onnoghen notably non-declaration of assets.

January 12, 2019: The CCB announced that it had filed a six-count charge against Onnoghen at the CCT.

January 14, 2019: Trial began at CCT with Justice Onnoghen absent

January 22, 2019: The Federal Government asked Onnoghen to step aside from office.

January 25, 2019: Onnoghen was suspended and replaced by Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad.

January 26, 2019: The United States issued a statement on Onnoghen’s suspension.

January 29, 2019: Onnoghen sued the Federal Government over his suspension.

January 30, 2019: Onnoghen lost bid to stop his trial at the CCT.

February 13, 2019: CCT ordered Onnoghen’s arrest.

February 15, 2019: Onnoghen finally appeared at CCT and pleaded not guilty.

April 1, 2019: Onnoghen opened defence at the tribunal.

April 3, 2019: Onnoghen closed defence at CCT.

April 4, 2019: Onnoghen reportedly resigned as CJN.

April 15, 2019: Tribunal fixes Thursday 18th April to deliver judgment on Onnoghen’s trial.

April 18, 2019: CCT removes Justice Onnoghen as CJN, bans him from holding public office for the next 10 years.

Tribunal Fixes Thursday To Deliver Judgment On Onnoghen’s Trial

PHOTO: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun

 

The Code of Conduct Tribunal on Monday fixed Thursday 18th of April for its final judgment in the charges of false and non-declaration of assets instituted against Justice Walter Onnoghen.

The three-man bench led by Mr. Danladi Umar fixed the date for judgment after the prosecution led by Mr. Aliyu Umar (SAN), and the defence led by Mr. Okon Efut (SAN), adopted their final addresses.

In the course of the proceedings, counsel to Justice Onnoghen Mr. Okon Effiong in his submission says that when the CJN said he forgot to fill his asset declaration form it was not a confession and cannot be held against him.

According to him, confession in law is not straight forward as writing that he forgot did not amount to an admission of guilt.

He also faulted the charge for not following the element of an offence as created by the law.

He also said that the prosecution failed woefully to prove the elements of the offence as contained in the 5th schedule of the constitution and urged that the charges be dismissed.

READ ALSO: Prosecution Team Members Disagree As Onnoghen’s Trial Resumes

PHOTO: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun

Addressing the court on a false declaration or false statement. He said the provision talks about a false statement and not a declaration.

He said a false statement that must be verified before it can be determined to be false or not. According to him, they established that there is a declaration but could not establish which if the statement were false cos it was not verified by a verifications authority as envisaged by law.

He concluded by saying they are defective and ought to be dismissed completely.

Responding, the prosecutor Mr. Aliyu Umar adopted the arguments in his final address as his submission and held that the prosecution has proven its case against the defendant beyond reasonable doubt and hold that he is guilty on all six charges.

He added that in coming to a decision whether a person is guilty or not it is the hard facts before the tribunal that will aid the determination.

He said it is a misconception by the defence to think that a charge is null and void because it was not elegantly drafted.

“The defence has not shown that the charges mislead the defendant in any way,” Umar said.

PHOTO: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun

He further noted that the statement by justice Onnoghen that he forgot, is an admission of the offence.

Responding on point of law, counsel to Justice Onnoghen Mr. Okon Effiong said that by section 36 of the Constitution a person can only be found guilty and punished only based on the law.

He also said that “the law says substantial declaration and not total” adding that the law makes room for where there is an omission, a person can regularise his form.

Chairman of the Tribunal Mr. Danladi Umar wrote his ruling on the next step in the trial and reserved judgment to Thursday the 18th of April 2019 by 9am.

PHOTO: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun

Prosecution Team Members Disagree As Onnoghen’s Trial Resumes

Justice Onnoghen arrives at CCT in Abuja. Credit: Sadiq Adelakun.

 

The prosecution camp in the trial of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, had a disagreement early on Monday, as proceedings got underway. 

The Drama began when the prosecution led by Mr. Aliyu Umar (SAN), and the defence led by Mr. Okon Efut (SAN), announced appearances for their teams in readiness for the business of the day which was the adoption of final addresses.#

As Umar was making his announcement, a member of his team, Prof. Zainab Duke, attempted to speak to the bench but was shouted down by Umar.

Mr. Umar insisted that Professor  Zainab must take permission from him, a stand which saw the situation further degenerate.

Duke sought the protection of the Judge as regards the issue and in response, the Chairman of the three-man bench, Danladi Umar called for tranquility and noted that the lead prosecuting counsel’s point is in order.

Mr. Danladi said, “only one counsel can speak for the team”.

Prof. Duke attempted to speak again, but she was cut short by Mr. Umar who appealed that the tribunal orders Duke to be sent out of the courtroom.

READ ALSO: Onnoghen’s Resignation: Give Government Credit, They Know What They Were Doing – Clarke

Following the application of the lead prosecution, the tribunal struck out the name of Professor Duke as a member of the prosecution team and advised her to either leave if she wants to or go to the back of the court.

The tribunal afterward started hearing the final submission of the parties in the suit.

Counsel to Justice Onnoghen Mr. Okon Effiong in his submission says that when the CJN said he forgot to fill his asset declaration form it was not a confession and cannot be held against him.

According to him confession in law is not straight forward as writing that he forgot did not amount to an admission of guilt.

He also faulted the charge for not following the element of an offence as created by the law.

He also said that the prosecution failed woefully to prove the elements of the offence as contained in the 5th schedule of the constitution and urged that the charges be dismissed.

Addressing the court on a false declaration or false statement. He said the provision talks about a false statement and not a declaration.

He said a false statement that must be verified before it can be determined to be false or not. According to him, they established that there is a declaration but could not establish which if the statement were false cos it was not verified by a verifications authority as envisaged by law.

He concluded by saying they are defective and ought to be dismissed completely.

Responding, the prosecutor Mr. Aliyu Umar adopted the arguments in his final address as his submission and held that the prosecution has proven its case against the defendant beyond reasonable doubt and hold that he is guilty on all six charges.

He added that in coming to a decision whether a person is guilty or not it is the hard facts before the tribunal that will aid the determination.

He said it is a misconception by the defence to think that a charge is null and void because it was not elegantly drafted.

“The defence has not shown that the charges mislead the defendant in any way,” Umar said.

He further noted that the statement by justice Onnoghen that he forgot, is an admission of the offence.

Responding on point of law, counsel to Justice Onnoghen Mr. Okon Effiong said that by section 36 of the Constitution a person can only be found guilty and punished only based on the law.

He also said that “the law says substantial declaration and not total” adding that the law makes room for where there is an omission, a person can regularise his form.

Chairman of the Tribunal Mr. Danladi Umar wrote his ruling on the next step in the trial and reserved judgment to Thursday the 18th of April 2019 by 9am.

Onnoghen Closes His Case At CCT

 

Justice Walter Onnoghen on Wednesday closed his case in his ongoing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Counsel to the suspended CJN, Mr. Chris Uche told the tribunal that, having looked at all the evidence and testimonies before the tribunal, the defence has come to the conclusion to close its case and will be applying in line with rule 14 of the tribunal to file their final address.

He noted that to ensure that they file a written address that will take into consideration all that has been put before the tribunal, they will be asking for 14 days to file all their addresses and leave it to the tribunal to decide one way or the other.

READ ALSO: INEC Resumes Governorship Election Result Collation In Rivers Amid Protest

Responding, the prosecutor, Mr. Aliyu Umar said that even though the defence had told him they will be asking for 14 days the practice direction of the tribunal did not make any specific time for that and so it is at the discretion of the tribunal.

He, however, agreed that parties need enough time to be able to put together their final addresses and that whatever time is given to the defence the same amount of time should be given to the prosecution.

The tribunal resolved to give three working days to the defence to file their written address while the prosecution will also get the same amount of days and thereafter the tribunal will fix a date for ruling on pending applications and the judgment.

It also adjourned to 12th of April for the adoption of written addresses.

Alleged False Assets Declaration: Onnoghen To Call CCB Director As Witness

Onnoghen: Foreign Interference In Nigeria’s Internal Affairs Is 'Insulting' – FG
Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen (file)

 

The Code of Conduct Tribunal has resumed sitting in the trial of Justice Walter Onnoghen for alleged non-declaration of assets.

The tribunal had on Friday dismissed Justice Onnoghen’s no-case submission, insisting he had a case to answer and ordered him to open his defence on Monday.

At the resumed sitting, Justice Onnoghen’s counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo, said the proceedings from Friday’s hearing had not been made available to the defence.

He requested that a witness, Miss Theresa Nwafor of the Code of Conduct Bureau should be subpoenaed to appear as a witness for the CJN.

READ ALSO: No-Case Submission: Onnoghen Files Notice Of Appeal Against CCT Ruling

The witness is the Director of the CCB in Benin.

Mr Awomolo also informed the chairman that he ought to rule on his application before any other thing, a position the prosecution counsel did not object to.

In his ruling, the chairman of the tribunal granted the request and ordered her to be at the tribunal on Wednesday by 10 am.

Meanwhile, a second witness Lawal Busari had taken the witness stand on behalf of Justice Onnoghen.

The witness, a staff member of the Supreme Court, told the tribunal he is a driver to the CJN.

He further narrated to the tribunal how he was sent by the CJN to collect the asset declaration form on his behalf and that the CCB gave him a receipt to that effect.

When the counsel to the CJN sought to tender the said receipt, the prosecution objected to the move.

The tribunal, however, admitted the receipt.

Continuing with his testimony, the witness said he submitted the forms at the CCB after the CJN had filled it. The witness said he filled his own form and was issued a receipt as well.

Again, when the defence counsel attempted to tender the receipt of the witness, the move was objected to by the prosecutor who said it was not relevant to the case.

The defence counsel insisted that the action of the witness is relevant to the case of the CJN, but the chairman of the Tribunal agreed with the prosecutor and rejected the receipt.

Under cross-examination, the prosecutor asked the witness why he was looking at a small white paper during his testimony in-chief. The witness replied that he wasn’t looking at any paper.

He was now asked if he wrote on the paper and if the paper contained facts which he gave evidence on. The witness said what was written on the paper was about himself.

The defence counsel did not object to the admissibility of the piece of paper as evidence.

Onnoghen To Open Defence At CCT Today

Onnoghen: Foreign Interference In Nigeria’s Internal Affairs Is 'Insulting' – FG
Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen (file)

 

The Code of Conduct Tribunal has resumed sitting in the trial of Justice Walter Onnoghen for alleged non-declaration of assets.

The tribunal had on Friday dismissed Justice Onnoghen’s no-case submission, insisting he had a case to answer and ordered him to open his defence on Monday.

At the resumed sitting, Justice Onnoghen’s counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo, said the proceedings from Friday’s hearing had not been made available to the defence.

He requested that a witness, Miss Theresa Nwafor of the Code of Conduct Bureau should be subpoenaed to appear as a witness for the CJN.

READ ALSO: No-Case Submission: Onnoghen Files Notice Of Appeal Against CCT Ruling

The witness is the Director of the CCB in Benin.

Mr Awomolo also informed the chairman that he ought to rule on his application before any other thing, a position the prosecution counsel did not object to.

In his ruling, the chairman of the tribunal granted the request and ordered her to be at the tribunal on Wednesday by 10 am.

Meanwhile, a second witness Lawal Busari had taken the witness stand on behalf of Justice Onnoghen.

More to follow…

No-Case Submission: Onnoghen Files Notice Of Appeal Against CCT Ruling

 

The suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, is planning to appeal the ruling of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on his ‘no-case submission’.

He disclosed this in a notice of appeal on Friday shortly after the Tribunal held that Justice Onnoghen has a case to answer in his trial over alleged non-declaration of assets.

The CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar, had insisted that the judge must enter his defence on Monday next week, despite pleas to adjourn the case.

READ ALSOCCT Dismisses No-Case Submission By Suspended CJN

Dissatisfied with the ruling, Justice Onnoghen resolved to challenge the decision of the Tribunal at the Court of Appeal in Abuja.

He listed the “Federal Republic of Nigeria” as the sole defendant in the proposed appeal.

The judge stated that the CCT erred in law when it dismissed his no-case submission by its alleged failure to appreciate his submission that the processes that led to the criminal proceeding against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) violated the provision of the law

He added that the CCB, as a creation of the Constitution, was bound by all law made for the due process of the exercise of its powers under the law.

According to Justice Onnoghen, the members of the Tribunal erred in law when they overruled his no-case submission “when there is uncontroverted evidence” before it that there was no lawful investigation into the allegations against him.

He also claimed that the Tribunal erred in law when it dismissed his submission and refused to consider that the elements of the offence he was alleged to have committed were not proved by any legally acceptable evidence.

The suspended CJN insisted that the totality of the evidence was “hearsay”.

Read the full Notice of Appeal by Justice Onnoghen below:

CCT Dismisses No-Case Submission By Suspended CJN

Second Prosecution Witness Testifies In Onnoghen’s Trial At CCT
Suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen (file)

 

The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has ruled that the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, has a case to answer in his ongoing trial over alleged false assets declaration.

Despite pleas for further adjournment, Chairman of the CCT, Danladi Umar, insisted that Justice Onnoghen must enter his defence on Monday, April 1.

The development follows the resumed trial in Abuja during which the counsels to the Federal Government and Justice Onnoghen argued their positions on the no-case submission for one hour, 45 minutes.

Onnoghen’s counsel, Mr Adegboyega Awomolo, accused the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) of not following its standard procedures in instituting the case against the suspended CJN.

READ ALSO: Prosecution Closes Case Against Onnoghen Before CCT

According to him, the highest authorities at the CCB were not consulted before the charge was filed at the CCT.

But the prosecution counsel, Mr Aliyu Umar, insisted that the CCB Act cannot override the powers of the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, as enshrined in the constitution.

He stated that the suspended CJN has a case to answer because he has been operating the account since 2009 and didn’t declare it since then.

Prosecution Closes Case Against Onnoghen Before CCT

Onnoghen: Foreign Interference In Nigeria’s Internal Affairs Is 'Insulting' – FG
Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen (file)

 

The prosecution counsel has closed the case against the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

The case against the CJN was closed after calling three witnesses to the stand, although the Federal Government had listed six witnesses, its counsel, Aliyu Umar announced that the government has closed its case.

Two witnesses a former Director at the Code of Conduct Tribunal and the banker to Justice Onnoghen testified before the tribunal in favour of the Federal Government in addition to the first prosecution witness who testified on Monday, bringing the witnesses to three.

The lead prosecution counsel said though they initially listed six witnesses for the trial, however, it would not be calling on the remaining three, adding that he is offering them to the defence for cross-examination if they so wished.

READ ALSOSecond, Third Prosecution Witnesses Testify In Onnoghen’s Trial At CCT

However, counsel to the CJN, Mr Adegboyega Awomolo, said the defence does not need the witnesses and the prosecution can go ahead to close its case if it is done.

Awomolo also informed the tribunal of its intention to invoke section 303 of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act, 2015 to enter a no-case submission.

He pleaded with the tribunal to allow him prepare a written address and urged the chairman to order the registry to make a record of proceedings available to him to guide him in the written address.

The prosecution did not object to the application, prompting the tribunal chairman, Mr Danladi Umar to make an order on the registry to avail parties in the matter with the record of proceedings.

He also ordered that the record must be made available to the parties on Monday and adjourned hearing in the no case submission to March 29.

Earlier on the CJN’s account officer in her evidence told the tribunal that justice Onnoghen maintains 5 different accounts with her bank in Abuja.

According to her, two of the accounts are naira accounts, one saving and the other current, while the remaining three in pounds, dollars and euro.

The witness said she met the defendant once in 2015 as a relationship manager and would not know if the accounts had been active since they were opened in 2009.

Under cross-examination by the CJN Onnoghen’s lawyer, Miss Okagbue said that Onnoghen never made any foreign transfer from the accounts.

The witness, however, admitted that Onnoghen had a facility of $500,000 as at January 2019 with the bank secured by his investment in bonds and other investment.

She further admitted that Justice Onnoghen as a disciplined account holder was encouraged by the bank to invest in profit yielding investment and that interest in the investment are regularly credited to his account, adding that the bank made an investment on his behalf from his account.

Earlier, the second prosecution witness, Awal Yakassai, under cross-examination admitted that two assets declaration forms submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau, by Onnoghen, three years ago have till date not been verified.

He also told the tribunal that contrary to the allegations that the CJN owned fifty-five houses, he has only five houses one of which was sold to him by the Federal Government.

Justice Onnoghen is being prosecuted by the Federal Government on a six-count charge bordering on alleged failure to disclose some of his assets in his asset declaration forms submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau.

Second, Third Prosecution Witnesses Testify In Onnoghen’s Trial At CCT

Second Prosecution Witness Testifies In Onnoghen’s Trial At CCT
Suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen (file).

 

A former director in charge of political office at the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Mr Awal Yakassi, has given his testimony in the alleged non-declaration of asset case against the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen.

Mr Yakassi testified on behalf of the Federal Government as the second prosecution witness on Thursday during the resumed trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

He told the Tribunal that he was the one who attended to Justice Onnoghen when he submitted two of his asset declaration forms in December 2016.

The witness said he received the forms and signed on them and provided the judge’s representative with two acknowledgement slips for receiving the forms.

Under cross-examinations, he noted that he was not served any subpoena to appear before the Tribunal.

READ ALSOINEC Fixes April To Resume Collation, Announcement Of Results In Rivers

When asked if he was at the Tribunal giving evidence as an officer of the CCB, Yakassi said he was giving evidence as a person who worked in that office in the past since he has retired.

He gave an affirmative response to a question as to whether he was a member of the management of CCB as a director in the bureau up until his retirement.

He also responded in the same manner when asked if as a member of the management of the CCB, he took instruction from the chairman and other members.

When asked if he has never heard about Code of Conduct Standards Operating Procedures, the witness, however, refused to answer and asked the lawyer how many he has heard.

At this point, counsel to Justice Onnoghen asked the Tribunal for protection but the CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar, said he was there to protect everybody, but the counsel should not harass the witness.

The counsel consequently asked again, and the witness said he has heard about the rule.

Asked if he knew that the commencement date of that rule was January 27, 2017, the witness said no.

Yakassi was, thereafter, as how many staff he had under his department and their ranks.

He said he has left the service and cannot recall.

When asked how many years he spent at the CCB, the witness said 29 years.

The witness told the Tribunal that he cannot recall how many judicial officers were given asset declaration forms while he was in service.

He also said he does not know if any member of the public can have access to anybody’s asset declaration form, or if it was only the chairman that can approve such.

Yakassi was then handed exhibit one which was the petition written against Justice Onnoghen.

He, however, said he had no knowledge of it.

Asked if he was shown the petition on January 11, 2019, when he made a statement to the investigative officer of the bureau, he gave a negative response.

The witness also said he was not shown the originals of exhibit 2 and 3, but his counsel said he should be shown.

The documents were subsequently shown to him and the witness said it was only the photocopies that were shown to him.

He told the Tribunal that he had no knowledge of the organization that wrote the petition.

Thereafter, the third prosecution witness, Ifeoma Okagbue, who is a banker with Standard Charted Bank, opened her testimony.

She told the Tribunal that her duties include offering financial services to high net worth clients, as well as new business development, growing and deepening priority affluent base, and offering investment advice and wealth management solutions.

Okagbue was then shown exhibit 5 which were bank statements and bank opening documents belonging to Justice Onnoghen after which she was asked if they were the ones given to CCB by her bank.

She answered in the affirmative and informed the Tribunal that the documents belonged to him.

The witness told the court that the accounts were opened in June 2009 and April 2010.