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Onnoghen case stalls again

For the second time in succession the Chief Justice of Nigeria CJN, Walter Onnoghen has failed to appear before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT to answer to allegations of false declaration of assets.

A senior lawyer leading a team of over 50 defence, Wole Olanipekun, SAN counsels for Mr Onnoghen, brought to the notice of the Tribunal the orders from various court restraining the CCT from entertaining the case.

The defense counsel therefore move the motion for indefinite adjournment of the trial pending the determination of the suit at the Court of Appeal challenging the jurisdiction of the CCT to entertain the case.

The government prosecutor, Aliu Umar, in the ongoing trial of Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen, said CJN had been duly communicated to, and wondered whether he had received it or not.

Mr Umar, in his opening address at the resumed hearing in the matter,
explained that the government wants the judge out of office.

At 10:21 a.m. that the case was re-opened at the Tribunal, Mr Onnoghen was not present.

The case was first opened on January 14.

President Muhamodu Buhari administration accuses the CJN of failing to declare bank accounts despite being a Supreme Court judge since 2005, an offence that contracts the Code of Conduct Act and could see dire penalties if established.

A federal high court ruled last week that Mr Onnoghen’s trial be suspended, but government supporters submitted that the ruling was an anomaly because the tribunal has parallel powers as federal high courts.

They argued that only the Court of Appeal could issue rulings that would be binding on the tribunal.

The Court of Appeal fixed January 24 for hearing on the matter.

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