FRESH! Day Of Reckoning Approaches As Court Decides Onnoghen’s Fate, Set To Deliver Judgment

The day of reckoning may be around the corner already for suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.

You would recall that Onnoghen’s case has been mounting up almost to the point of a climax in recent weeks now in the corruption case leveled overwhelmingly against him.

Also recall that just two weeks ago, apparently pre-empting Buhari’s reaction and decision on the recommendations of the National Judicial Council, the body charged with looking into issues of conduct of Nigeria’s legal personnels, the suspended Justice had tendered his voluntary letter which was forwarded to the President by the NJC.

The decision which was with immediate effect ostensibly to counter any plan the President might have against it before meting out his decision on him.

The Code of Conduct Tribunal on Monday fixed Thursday for its final judgment in the charges of false and non-declaration of assets instituted against Justice Walter Onnoghen, who reportedly resigned as the Chief Justice of Nigeria on April 4.

The Danladi Umar-led three-man bench fixed the date for judgment after the prosecution led by Mr. Aliyu Umar (SAN), and the defence led by Mr. Okon Efut (SAN), adopted their final addresses.

During the proceedings, the defence, in their final arguments, maintained that the prosecution failed to prove the six counts beyond reasonable doubt as required by law and urged the tribunal to dismiss the case.

Efut maintained that the statement made by Onnoghen to the Code of Conduct Bureau was not confessional as alleged by the prosecution.

He added that the charges, were incompetent and unconstitutional as they were based on the provisions of the Code of Conduct Tribunal and Bureau Act which were in conflict with the relevant provisions of the Constitution.

But the prosecution said the defence team was only attempting to redefine what constituted “proof beyond a reasonable doubt”.

He urged the tribunal to hold that the prosecution indeed proved the case beyond reasonable doubt and “return a guilty verdict”.

Source: Punch

Adjourning till Thursday for judgment, the tribunal chairman, said the verdict would be delivered along with two pending rulings on Onnoghen’s applications, one challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal to hear the case and another one asking the CCT chairman to disqualify himself from further presiding over the case for being allegedly bias.

 

Disagreement Breaks Out In Onnoghen’s Prosecution Camp

A disagreement broke out in the camp of the prosecution in the trial of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, as the proceedings resumed on Monday.
The disagreement started after the prosecution led by Mr. Aliyu Umar (SAN), and the defence led by Mr. Okon Efut (SAN), announced appearances for their teams.
As Umar informed the tribunal that he was ready for the business of the day which was the adoption of final addresses, a member of his team, Prof. Zainab Duke, attempted to speak to the bench.
With a paper in her hand, Duke tried to speak into the microphone but Umar grabbed the microphone and shouted on her to sit down.
“There cannot be two leading counsel. Sit down. You cannot speak,” Umar shouted.
Struggling to stand up after she sank to her seat in the middle of a struggle for the microphone with Umar,
Duke told the bench, “my lord I need your protection”.
Responding, the Chairman of the three-man bench, Danladi Umar, urged calm, and restated the lead prosecuting counsel’s point, saying, “only one counsel can speak for the team”.
“Whatever you have to say, inform the lead counsel,” the tribunal chairman said.
Defiant, Duke attempted to speak again, but she was cut short by the lead prosecuting counsel, who requested the tribunal to order that she be sent out of the courtroom.
When he realised, his request was not immediately granted, he requested that Duke’s name is struck out from the list of the prosecution’s team.
His request was granted by the tribunal and Duke walked out immediately it was ruled that her name had been removed from the prosecution’s list.
Speaking outside, the courtroom, she said she only wanted to draw the tribunal’s attention to the similarity between the Onnoghen’s trial and a case that took place in England many years ago.
Source: Punch
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