The Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Justice Danladi Umar, has given directives that the embattled chief justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, must appear before him in person before he can proceed with the trial.
Umar gave the directive on Monday, February 4, when he was reacting to the absence of the embattled CJN at the CCT, The Nation reports.
Legit.ng gathers that the counsel to Justice Onnoghen led by Adegboyega Awolowo (SAN) had reportedly traded words with Umar over the failure of the suspended CJN to appear at his ongoing trial at the CCT.
Recall that this would be the third time Onnoghen would fail to appear before the court to personally defend a six-count charge bordering on failure to declare assets, which was levelled against him by the federal government.
It was gathered that at the proceeding, Onnoghen's counsel sought the anger of Umar-led panel when it argued that the case be suspended at CCT since it has been filed before the National Judiciary Commission.
Awolowo had said: ''I humbly pray your Lordships to tarry for awhile so that the defendant will not suffer double jeopardy. It is in the interest of justice to also the NJC to take a decision before proceeding with the case. I believe that the integrity of this tribunal will be further enhanced if this application is granted."
Rejecting Awolowo's prayer, Justice Umar said: “Under the administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), a defendant, who is served with a charge and represented by lawyers, must take his plea before raising any objection.
“The defendant has continued to stay away from this tribunal. I am going to grant this adjournment at the instance of the prosecution and defence, but must state that the defendant must attend court at the next adjourned date so that all the issues would be resolved in his presence."
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The case was adjourned with parties involved agreeing to February 13, 2019, for the continuation of the trial.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had reported that all effort by the embattled chief justice of Nigeria to stop his ongoing trial at the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) was met with setback as his suit at the Appeal Court was struck out on Wednesday, January 30.
In its judgement, the three-member panel of the court led by Justice Abdul Aboki said its decision was because the CJN's suit was not in line with the provisions of the law, adding that the section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) had prohibited the suspension of criminal cases based on an interlocutory application.
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