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CJN Onnoghen shuns CCT


News » Politics
Nigeria

IMAGE: Chief Justice of Nigeria - Walter Nkanu Onnoghen »

Jan.14.2019

The Federal Government has employed the services of a former Commissioner of Justice in Kano State, Alhaji Aliyu Umar, to head the team to prosecute the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, over his alleged refusal to declare his assets.

Meanwhile, the CJN, on Monday, failed to appear before the tribunal to be docked to enable him to take his plea to the six-count criminal charge against him.

At exactly 10am when the charge marked CCT/ABJ/01/19, was called up, Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar, demanded to know why the CJN was not in court and if he was served with the charge. The prosecution counsel, Umar, SAN, who led five other lawyers, told the court that the CJN was served through one of his personal assistants.

“When we went to his house, he directed his personal assistant to collect the charge on his behalf. His personal assistant endorsed it, so he has been served”, Umar told the tribunal. Aside allegation that he failed to disclose his assets as prescribed by law, FG, in the charge that was filed by the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, equally accused the CJN of operating foreign bank accounts.

The prosecuting agency alleged that contrary to relevant laws regulating conduct of public office holders, the CJN, maintained a domiciliary foreign currencies account that comprised of Dollars Account, Pound Sterling Account and Euro Account.

Chief Wole Olanipekun who led 46 other Senior Advocates of Nigeria and 43 other lawyers, told the tribunal that the CJN had filed a motion dated January 14, challenging jurisdiction of the tribunal to try him.

“We are not just challenging jurisdiction, we are even challenging the jurisdiction of this tribunal to even snif that charge”, Olanipekun submitted.

In the proceedings the tribunal chairman upon inquiry about Onnoghen’s absence from court, discovered from the defence team, led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), that the CJN needed not to be present having filed a motion to challenge the tribunal’s jurisdiction.

Olanipekun said he and other defence lawyers only appeared in court in protest against the jurisdiction of the tribunal. He also said from the account given by the court official earlier in the proceedings, the CJN was not served with the charges and and summons personally, but through his aide. Olanipekun insisted that the law requires that the defendant be personally served.

But the prosecuting lawyer said the law only requires the defendant to be aware of the pending charges, and that it was the CJN’s choice to ask his aide to receive the charges and summons on his behalf.

After series of argument which lasted for about 45 minutes, the prosecuting counsel conceded that the service of the charges and the summons ought to have been personally served on Onnoghen.

“By what the registrar has said, although the defendant was the one who directed his personal assistant to accept service on his behalf and what the law says is that he must be personally served. “We agree that that the service should be properly done. The processes should be served personally on him.

“If, after the service is done, and the defendant is not present, we can then argue whether or not he needs to be present on the grounds that he has filed a motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court.”

Article Credit: Vanguard & Leadership Newspapers

Updated 1 Month ago
 

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Tags:     CCT     CJN     Onnoghen

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