Asset Declaration: Onnoghen Asks Tribunal to Quash Charges

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Walter Onnoghen
Walter Onnoghen

By Alex Enumah in Abuja

The suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, on Friday asked the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) to quash the six-count charge of non-declaration of assets brought against him by the federal government for lacking in merit.

The federal government, had on January 2019, commenced proceedings against Onnoghen over alleged failure to declare his assets in line with the provisions of the law for public officers.

However, after the prosecution ended its case last week after calling on three witnesses, Onnoghen through his lead counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), had informed the three-man tribunal headed by Danladi Umar that he would be filing a no-case submission since the prosecution has not been able to establish a prima facie case against him.

Awomolo, in arguing the no-case submission, submitted that the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) did not substantially comply with its own law in preffering the charges against the defendant.

According to Awomolo, CCB did not verify the form filled by Onnoghen as admitted by the second prosecution witness.

He submitted further that the assets declaration form, which Onnoghen is being accused of not filling properly, was neither verified by the authorised persons nor the department saddled with the responsibilities.

“That the defendant did not fill the assets declaration form, no investigation to show that it was done. Prosecution witness 2 said there is a register where all submitted forms are filed and a column to fill after investigating the form.

“The witness said the manager of this register neither the registrar nor the director nor department officer investigated the defendant’s form,” he said.

He also submitted that the maker of exhibit one (petitioner) was not brought to the court to testify.

“The petition amount to hearsay and should be expunged from record,” he said.

He cited section 84 of the Evidence Act that for exhibit to succeed, the maker must present them, arguing further that exhibits four and five were presented by bank officials who were not the maker.

Details later…