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Onnoghens Trial Must Continue: FG

by Anita Ogona

The Code of Conduct Tribunal yesterday adjourned indefinitely its rulings on two separate motions filed by the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, to challenge the tribunal’s jurisdiction to entertain the charges of non-declaration of assets preferred against him by the Federal Government.

The Chairman of the CCT, Danladi Umar, said the rulings on the motions would be delivered along with the final judgement on the case at the end of trial.

 The tribunal, by its decision, dismissed the consenting submissions of the prosecution team, led by Mr Aliyu Umar (SAN); and the defense team, led by Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN). Both had contended that the rulings on the applications should precede the commencement of the trial.

 Umar, who did not make any reference to the submissions by the prosecution and the defense, ruled that the tribunal believed the rulings on the suspended CJN’s motions could be delivered at the end of the trial along with the final judgement on the main case.

 The CCT chairman, said it was in line with the provision of Section 396(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and paragraph 5 (5) of the Practice Direction of the tribunal.

He also stated that in line with the provision of Section 396(3) of the ACJA, the trial would hold daily.

He then adjourned the matter till Tuesday for the hearing of the prosecution’s pending application and for the commencement of trial.

Earlier, Awomolo moved two applications which were opposed by the prosecution.

In one of the applications, Onnoghen, through his lawyers, urged the tribunal to adopt its earlier decision in respect of similar charges of non-declaration of assets instituted against a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta.

The Danladi Umar-led CCT had in its May 15, 2018 ruling terminated the charges against Justice Ngwuta by following the authority in the judgement of the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal which on December 12, 2017, struck out the charges against a judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Hyeldzira Nganjiwa.

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