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CCT: I've no case to answer, Onnoghen insists

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri, Abuja on 23/03/2019

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•Embattled CJN Onnoghen
•Embattled CJN Onnoghen

The suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, on Thursday, said he has no case to answer with regards to the six-count charge the Federal Government preferred against him before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, in Abuja.

Justice Onnoghen, who is facing trial over allegations that he failed to declare his assets as prescribed by the law, as well as operated foreign bank accounts, contrary to the code of for public officers, insisted that FG failed to adduce any credible evidence to substantiate the charge.

 He secured the leave of the Mr. Danladi Umar-led three-man panel tribunal to file a no-case-submission, in line with the provision of section 303 of the of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015.

 A no-case-application is entered in a criminal matter, when the defendant is confident that the totality of evidence produced by the prosecution, was insufficient to establish a prima-facie case capable of warranting the entering of a defence to the charge.

Justice Onnoghen, who was suspended from office by President Muhammadu Buhari on January 25, indicated his intention to apply to be discharged and acquitted of the charge, after FG closed its case on Thursday.

 FG which had earlier notified the tribunal that it would call a total of six witnesses in the matter, however applied to close its case after it produced only three witnesses that testified before the CCT.

 The prosecution counsel, Mr. Aliyu Umar, SAN, maintained that it would be unnecessary to call the remaining witnesses.

 He said the defendant was at liberty to summon any of the listed but uncalled witnesses to testify on his behalf, if he so wished.

 FG’s lawyer was immediately overruled by the CCT Chairman, Mr. Umar, even as Onnoghen’s lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, rejected the offer.

“This is the case of the prosecution. If it feels that it is satisfied with evidence of the three witnesses, then so be it”, the CCT Chairman held.

 The case was subsequently adjourned to next week Friday for hearing of the defendant’s no-case application and for the adoption of the final written addresses by both the prosecution and the defence.

 

Excerpted from aVanguard report

 

 

Source News Express

Posted 23/03/2019 05:24:19 AM

 

 

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