Asset declaration: Onnoghen to know fate on Thursday

Asset declaration: Onnoghen to know fate on Thursday

The Code of Conduct tribunal has fixed Thursday, 18th April as date to deliver its final judgement on allegations of false asset declaration against former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen by the Federal Government.

The tribunal on Monday fixed the date for delivery of its final judgement after both counsels to the defendant and plaintiff adopted their final addresses.

Onnoghen on April 4 notified President Muhammadu Buhari of his resignation as Chief Justice of Nigeria.

Okon Efut, counsel to Onnoghen in his final arguments, maintained that the prosecution failed to prove the six counts charge beyond reasonable doubt as required by law.

He, therefore, urged the tribunal to dismiss the case.

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

“This case is about the declaration of assets and the first charge complains of non-declaration. The second to sixth counts complain of false declaration,” the lawyer said.

He argued that the charges are “contradictory and mutually exclusive.”

“The two cannot go together. We urge the court to dismiss all six counts,” the defence counsel argued.

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.

The complainant had submitted that by the content in exhibit 6 (Mr Onnoghen’s statement to the CCB), the defendant is deemed to have confessed or admitted to the charge.

“That is incorrect in law, confession in law means admitting to all the essential elements of the charge,” he said, adding that there was nothing to signify that the defendant admitted to the charges.

“Section 11 of the Code of Conduct Tribunal Act, the section upon which the charges are premised, is unconstitutional.”

Aliyu Umar (SAN), the prosecutor, however, said the defence team was only attempting to redefine what constituted “proof beyond a reasonable doubt”.

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

In adjourning till Thursday for the final judgment, the tribunal chairman Umar Danladi said the verdict would be delivered along with two pending rulings on Mr Onnoghen’s applications.

One of such application is that challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal to hear the case.

The other application is asking the CCT chairman to disqualify himself from further presiding over the case for being allegedly bias.


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