Onnoghen Reacts To CCT’s Landmark Judgment, Reveals Next Move

 

 

Justice Walter Onnoghen has rejected the judgment of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) which convicted him of non-declaration of assets,

The CCT Thursday convicted the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria and banned him from holding any public office for 10 years.

In his ruling, Chairman of the tribunal, Danladi Umar, ordered the immediate removal of Onnoghen from office as the CJN.

Onnoghen was also stripped of all offices earlier occupied, such as the Chairman of the National Judicial Council and also the chairmanship of the Federal Judicial Service Commission.

But this news medium learned that shortly after the judgment, Onnoghen filed a notice of appeal at the Court of Appeal in Abuja to challenge the ruling of the Tribunal.

It was gathered that the “Federal Government of Nigeria” was listed as the only respondent in the appeal.

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.

Background

President Muhammadu Buhari had in January suspended Onnoghen based on allegation that he violated the code of conduct for public officers by not declaring his assets as required by law.

The federal government filed charges against Onnoghen at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, which recommended the suspension of the senior judicial officer.

The federal government also sent a petition to the NJC over corruption allegations against the suspended CJN.

As for Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), it accused Onnoghen of receiving bribes in money and gifts from lawyers, and receiving illicit payments from public funds.

But the senior judicial officer denied the allegations, saying they were baseless.

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