March 25, 2019

Onnoghen’s case adjourned by CCT Tribunal till Jan 22

Onnoghen’s case adjourned by CCT Tribunal till Jan 22

The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) led by Danladi Umar on Monday adjourned the inquest involving the charges of the non-declaration of assets levelled against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, till January 22.

Umar ruled that the tribunal would hear Onnoghen’s motion challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal at the next proceedings.

The CCT adjourned the inquest after the lead prosecuting counsel, Aliyu Umar explained that Onnoghen was improperly served with the charges and the summons.

Umar agreed that the CJN was not personally served with the charges and the court’s summons, as required by the law.

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He, therefore, requested the three-man tribunal led by Danladi Umar to direct a fresh service on the CJN.

Onnoghen was absent from the Monday’s proceedings.

During the course of proceedings, the tribunal chairman inquired about the absence of Onnoghen from court with the Wole Olanipekun-defence team replying that the CJN needed not to be present, having filed a motion to challenge the tribunal’s jurisdiction.

Olanipekun said he and other defence lawyers only appeared in court in protest against the jurisdiction of the tribunal.

He also said that, from the account given by the court official earlier in the proceedings, the CJN was not served with the charges and summons personally, but through his aide.

Olanipekun insisted that the law requires that the defendant is served personally.

However, the prosecuting team countered by explaining the law only requires the defendant to be aware of the pending charges, and that it was the CJN’s choice to ask his aide to receive the charges and summons on his behalf.

But after a back-and-forth argument that went on for about 45 minutes, the prosecuting counsel conceded that the service of the charges and the summons ought to have been personally served on Onnoghen.

“By what the registrar has said, although the defendant was the one who directed his personal assistant to accept service on his behalf and what the law says is that he must be personally served.

“We agree that that the service should be properly done. The processes should be served personally on him.

“If, after the service is done, and the defendant is not present, we can then argue whether or not he needs to be present on the grounds that he has filed a motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court.”

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