Tag Archives: CJN

Acting CJN: NJC refuses to fault swearing by the President

The National Judicial Commission (NJC) has refused to fault the swearing-in of the Justice Muhammad by the president as the acting Chief Justice of the Federation (CJN)

In a related development, the National Judicial Commission recommended the retirement of the suspended chief justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, to President Muhammadu Buhari.

These decisions were reached after a meeting on Wednesday, April 3, which led to a unanimous agreement that Onnoghen be retired over petitions filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The President will, however, have to consider whether it would be in his best interest to accept the council’s recommendation on Justice Walter Onnoghen, the suspended CJN.

Legit.ng reports that Justice Muhammad was absolved by the NJC of any blame in deferring to the president to be sworn in as the acting CJN The coast seems clear for Justice Tanko Muhammad, acting chief justice of Nigeria, to become substantive CJN following the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC).

The Nation reports that President Muhammadu Buhari may accept the recommendation from the NJC that Justice Muhammad be formerly appointed as CJN.

FG closes case against Onnoghen

The Federal Government on Thursday closed its case of false and non-declaration of charges preferred against the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Although, the prosecution led by Mr. Aliyu Umar (SAN) had proposed to call six witnesses to prove its case against the defendant, it closed its case after calling three of them.

Umar announced his decision to close the prosecution’s case after the third witness, Ifeoma Okeagbue, an official of Standard Chartered Bank, concluded her testimony on Thursday.

The prosecuting counsel said he had chosen to offer to the defence team the rest of his proposed witnesses, three of them, who were not called by the prosecution.

But the lead defence counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), rejected the offer.

He then sought the permission of the three-man bench led by its Chairman, Danladi Umar, to consult with the defendant who was seated in the dock.

After a brief interaction with the suspended CJN, Awomolo announced that Onnoghen had opted to file a no-case submission, implying that the defence will contend that the prosecution has failed to make a case against the defendant and there will not be any need for the suspended CJN to enter his defence.

CCT Trial: Onnoghen owns only 5 houses, not 55 – Ex-CCB Director testifies

A retired Director at the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, Mr Awal Yakassai, on Thursday, testified as for the second prosecution witness, PW-2, in the ongoing trial of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, who is facing trial over his alleged failure to declare his assets.

Yakassai told the Mr Danladi Umar led a three-man panel of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, that contrary to what was alleged in the media, he said the suspended CJN owned only five houses.

He said it was not true that CCB investigators linked the ownership of 55 houses to the defendant. The witness made the disclosure after he was shown copies of Justice Onnoghen’s asset declaration forms, which the Federal Government tendered in evidence before the CCT.

The embattled CJN was said to have submitted the forms marked as Exhibit 2 and 3, to the CCB in 2014 and 2015. Answering questions under cross-examination, the PW-2, told the tribunal that he served at the CCB for 29 years before he retired in April 2018. He said the CCB was yet to verify Justice Onnoghen’s assets with a view to finding out if he made false declarations.

Holding the two documents in his hand while responding to a question from Onnoghen’s lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, the witness said: “My lord, according to exhibit 2 and 3, the defendant has only five buildings and not 55”.

Awomolo noted that one of the five buildings was given to the defendant by the federal government itself. Continuing his testimony, the witness, told the tribunal that verification columns on Onnoghen’s two asset declaration forms were still empty. He said: “As indicated here, the column for verified assets have not been signed as at today” he added, saying it was standard practice at the CCB that returned asset declaration forms must pass through three stages of verification.

“My lord we have three stages of verification, the first is at the time of submission of forms, the second is what we called conference verification whereby we invite the person. And the third is physical verification of the assets. “Until these three stages are completed, we cannot say that the assets have been verified”. Meanwhile, Chairman of the CCB, Danladi Umar, had earlier threatened to give 28 years jail term to journalists that misrepresent proceedings on the CJN’s trial, Umar, who said he was displeased about “the distortion and misrepresentation” of what transpired at the tribunal last Monday by a section of the media, warned that he would henceforth wield his powers against journalists.

“Henceforth, any journalist carrying concocted or discredited statement which is not adduced before this tribunal, I will not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law heavily on the person. “The journalist will languish there and may remain there (in prison) until I retire about 28 years from now. “The person will be summarily sent to prison because that is contempt. “It does not matter whether the contempt is committed in facie curiae (before the court) or ex facie curiae (outside the court)”, he fumed.

The CCT boss has given FG’s lawyer, Mr Aliyu Umar, the nod to call a second witness to give evidence against the suspended CJN who is answering to a six-count charge. Aside allegation that he failed to declare his assets as prescribed by the law, FG had in the charge marked CCT/ABJ/01/19, FG, alleged that Onnoghen operated five foreign bank accounts, contrary to section 15(2) of Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act. FG had insisted that it was the CCB that okayed Onnoghen’s trial based on certain infractions that were discovered in his asset declaration forms.

Onnoghen’s suspension: I acted within the powers of the Tribunal – CCT chair

Danladi Umar, chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), says he ordered the suspension of Walter Onnoghen, chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), in line with the inherent powers and jurisdiction of the tribunal.

Umar also said “it is left to the appellate court to determine whether or not the order was rightly or wrongly granted.”

The CCT chair made the clarifications in response to a petition filed by Grace Wogor, a lawyer, that he acted beyond his legal authority in granting an order for the suspension of the CJN.

The petition was forwarded to him by the federal judicial service commission (FJSC).

“The petitioner had alleged that I granted an ex parte order directing the President to suspend the Chief Justice of Nigeria, who is a defendant in a charge filed against him at the tribunal,” he said.

“It is important to state that I acted within the inherent powers and jurisdiction of the Tribunal and that whether or not the order was rightly or wrongly granted is now a matter to be determined by the Court of Appeal, since the defendant appealed against the ex parte order.”

Umar said the tribunal did not comply with orders by the high court in Abuja and the national industrial court (NIC) to stop Onnoghen’s trial because they are courts of coordinate jurisdiction.

He maintained that the chairman and members of the CCT are not “constitutionally subject to disciplinary proceedings by either the National Judicial Council (NJC) or the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC)”.

The CCT chair said only the court of appeal and the supreme court have supervisory powers over the tribunal.

Source: TheCable

EFCC raids suspended CJN, Onnoghen’s farm in Nasarawa

According to reports, the EFCC operatives searched the farm for about three hours and went away with various documents and phones of the farm’s staff.

According to Punch,the EFCC operatives came with a cameraman and policemen in a Nissan bus marked Abuja BWR 627AT.

The report also states that they searched the farm for about three hours and went away with various documents and phones of the farm’s staff.

A relative of the suspended CJN who spoke to Punch said EFCC operatives forced staff members to give up the sales records of the farm. “We were at the farm on Saturday afternoon when operatives of the EFCC arrived in a white Nissan bus marked Abuja BWR627AT. They forced their way into the premises, harassing everyone.

“No document was presented to the manager under the claims that the EFCC doesn’t need a search warrant. They searched his office and made away with a list of staff members from around February last year.

“The manager was then made to write and sign a document that nowhere was broken into, and nothing was taken. The supervisor was made to countersign. Both were made to do this under duress.

“The cashier was then harassed and made to turn over the sales record and all receipts and invoices in his keeping. He was also made to write an undertaking releasing the sales book to them under duress and made to write his name and designation.

“These people alleged that Onnoghen had 55 houses but when they realised that he had only one house; they decided to start looking for evidence.

“They claimed he had foreign accounts but when it was time to provide evidence to the NJC, they realised that it was only domiciliary accounts he had which is not the same as foreign accounts. Now, they are looking for evidence when the matter is already in court,” the relative said.

According to Punch, EFCC’s spokesman, Tony Orilade says he does not know anything about the raid on Onnoghen’s farm.

Justice Walter Onnoghen is standing trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for allegedly failing to declare all his assets as required by law.

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