The Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, Monday fixed Thursday, April 18, to deliver judgment in the six-count charge of false asset declaration brought against the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen by the Federal government.
Chairman of the tribunal, Danladi Yakubu Umar, while announcing the date, disclosed that rulings will be delivered on the same date on the two motions earlier filed by Onnoghen in which he challenged the jurisdiction of the tribunal and, also praying that the tribunal chairman should recuse himself from the trial on account of bias.
While adopting his final address, Onnoghen’s counsel, Okon Nkanu prayed the tribunal to dismiss the six-count charges against his client on grounds that the prosecution failed to prove the essential ingredients of the charges beyond all reasonable doubts.
Also, Nkanu argued that false asset declaration charge against Onnoghen was unknown to law, saying it was not clearly defined by the constitution.
He added that for the prosecution to succeed, the elements of each count in the six-count charge must be well established and in absence, the tribunal under the law must rule in favour of the defendant.
The counsel particularly faulted the claim of the prosecution that Onnoghen made partial asset declaration, adding that the claim established that Onnoghen declared his asset and that if it was done, it raises doubts that must be resolved in favour of the defendant.
Nkanu further told the Danladi Umar-led tribunal that from the asset declaration form of Onnoghen which was admitted by the tribunal as exhibit, it was clear that the claims of Onnoghen were not verified by the CCB as required by law and, therefore, the charges against his client were based on hearsay.
The defence counsel, therefore, prayed the tribunal to dismiss the entire charges and, to discharge and acquit Onnoghen from the alleged offences.
In his adoption, the prosecution counsel, Aliyu Umar informed the tribunal that all the essential ingredients of the charges have been proved beyond all reasonable doubts and prayed the tribunal to uphold his submission.
The counsel insisted that the defendant did not declare his asset between 2005 to 2015, and added that when he did so on December 14, 2016, five bank accounts with Standard chartered bank opened between 2009 and 2011 were not declared.
He, therefore, urged the tribunal to hold that the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.
It would be recalled that the Federal government had on January 11, filed a six-count charge bordering on false and non-declaration of asset against Onnoghen at the tribunal which culminated in his suspension from office by President Muhammadu Buhari.dp