Tribunal adjourns CJN Onnoghen’s case till January 22
January 14, 2019
Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
The Danladi Umar-led three-man Code of Conduct Tribunal on Monday adjourned proceedings involving the charges of non-declaration of assets preferred against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice 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 tribunal adjourned the case after the lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Aliyu Umar (SAN), conceded that Onnoghen was improperly served with the charges and the summons.
Umar conceded that the CJN was not personally served with the charges and the court’s summons, as required by the law.
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.
Upon an inquiry by the tribunal chairman about Onnoghen’s absence from court, the defence team led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), said 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 be served personally.
But the prosecuting lawyer said 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.
BREAKING: Court stops CJN Onnoghen’s planned arraignment
January 14, 2019
Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
The Federal High Court in Abuja has stopped the Federal Government’s plan to arraign the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
The Federal Government through the Code of Conduct Bureau filed six counts of non-declaration of assets against the CJN on Friday.
He was due for arraignment before the CCT on Monday but he was absent from court.
But ruling on two separate ex parte applications on Monday, Justice N.E Maha, ordered parties to maintain status quo till January 17.
He ruled in the two different suits that the defendants should be served with all the papers filed and they should appear in court at the next hearing.
One of the two suits marked FHC/ABJ/CS/27/2019 was filed by incorporated trustees of the Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative.
Those joined as defendants in the suit, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, the Chairman of CCT, Danladi Umar; the National Judicial Council, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, and the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
The other suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/28/2019 was filed by the incorporated trustees of the International Association of Students Economists and Management.
The suit has as the defendants, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Malami; the CCT, the CCB, the Chairman of CCT, Umar; and the Inspector-General of Police, Idris.
While the ex parte application in the suit FHC/ABJ/CS/27/2019 was moved by Mr. R.A Lawal-Rabana (SAN), before Justice Maha on Monday, the ex parte application filed in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/28/2019 was moved by Mr. Jeph Njikonye.
The applications were being filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja while the CCT proceedings where Onnoghen was being expected to be arraigned was ongoing.
Justice Onnoghen was however absent at the CCT proceedings forcing the tribunal to adjourn till January 22.
But Justice Maha ruled at the Federal High Court on Monday that no steps should be taken in respect of the trial until January 17 when all parties to the two suits should return to court for the hearing of the plaintiffs’ motion on notice.
The hearing took place shortly after the CCT proceedings ended on Monday.
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