Former CJN Walter Onnoghen Gets Last Laugh As Appeal Court ‘Vindicates’ Him In New Ruling

Fresh reports from The Punch have it that, the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal has struck out an appeal by Justice Walter Onnoghen, the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, which was challenging an ex parte order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal that was issued on the 23rd of January, 2019, for his suspension from office pending his trial before the tribunal.

The Court of Appeal court had in a unanimous judgment of its three-month bench led by Justice Stephen Adah, however ruled that the ex parte order by the CCT order was a breach to the right of the ex-CJN to fairing hearing.

Justice Adah who read the lead judgment pointed out that the court proceedings ought not to be conducted “in a shady or clandestine manouvre” as manner in which the ex parte order was obtained by the prosecution.

The matter was however, struck out by Justice Adah on the grounds that the substantive matter had already been concluded by the CCT which had ended in the conviction of the former CJN on charges bordering on false as well as non-declaration of assets.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on the strength of the ex parte order given by the CCT made the move to suspend Onnoghen from office on January 25.

Justice Adah pointed out that the order was not only made when Onnoghen was yet to be arraigned before the CCT, but it was also gotten in a manner “shrouded in secrecy and clandestine manoeuvre.”

Justice Olabisi Ige, who read the lead judgment in a different appeal, also held that the CCT should have been bound by the various court orders from the National Industrial Court and the Federal High Court which halted the trial.

The judge further said that the CCT should have “tarried a while” and file an appeal to the Court of Appeal to set the orders aside, instead of ignoring them altogether.

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Justice Adah, in another judgment, dismissed the appeal made by Onnoghen to challenge the arrest warrant which was issued against him by the CCT.

Meanwhile, a date has not yet been fixed by the appellate court for the hearing of the appeal by Onnoghen to challenge his conviction by the CCT.

(The Punch)

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