- Justice Walter Onnoghen’s driver has given evidence in the embattled CJN’s ongoing trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal
- The witness gave evidence of driving the Onnoghen to the Code of Conduct Bureau in 2010 to obtain his assets declaration forms
- The witness further confirmed that he and Justice Onnoghen returned the completed forms to the CCB’s Asokoro office
The driver of Justice Walter Onnoghen, the suspended chief justice of Nigeria, on Monday, April 1, gave evidence as the first defence witness in the former’s ongoing trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
Onnoghen’s lead counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), led the witness, Alhaji Lawal Olanrewaju Busari, in evidence, Daily Trust reports.
Legit.ng gathers that Busari informed the tribunal that he is a chief driver/mechanic at the Supreme Court of Nigeria and has been Onnoghen’s driver since 1999.
The witness gave evidence of driving the embattled CJN to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) in 2010 to obtain his assets declaration forms.
He said: “On July 28, 2010, my lord called me that we should go to the office of CCB at Asokoro. When we got there, he collected the asset declaration form.
“After collecting, he asked me if I wasn’t going to collect mine. I collected and filled mine too.
“On November 3, 2010, my lordship gave me N200 to go and pay for asset declaration at the FCT High Court revenue office. I paid to the cashier and I returned the original receipt to my lord.”
The counsel for the prosecution, Aliyu Umar (SAN), however, objected to the admissibility of the receipt when the document was sought to be tendered in evidence.
The objection was, however, overruled by the tribunal chairman, Danladi Umar, who admitted the document as Exhibit D2.
The witness further disclosed that he and Justice Onnoghen submitted the asset declaration forms at the CCB’s Abuja office after making payment at the FCT High Court.
He said after submitting the forms, the CCB did not give them an acknowledgment receipt.
He said: “The woman that received the forms from us told us to come back and collect the acknowledgement forms. I went back alone. A man went inside and checked until he found mine and handed it to me.”
When it was sought to be tendered, the prosecution, however, objected to the admissibility of the acknowledgement receipt; stating that the document was not relevant to the trial.
The tribunal chairman reportedly interjected as the defence counsel attempted to explain the relevance of the document.
Umar said: “Let’s save ourselves the stress and time, this document is not relevant to this proceeding and it is hereby marked rejected.”
The witness further confirmed that he and Justice Onnoghen returned their completed assets declaration forms to the CCB’s Asokoro office.
He also confirmed that the two forms were received from him and the defendant at the CCB office in Asokoro, and that he went back to pick his own acknowledgment of the receipt of the form.
Under cross-examination, the prosecution asked if the witness was looking at a piece of paper while giving evidence and the witness said, “Yes.”
The witness, however, said the writing relates to the evidence he gave and that the handwriting on the paper was his own.
The prosecution tendered the paper as evidence and it was admitted as evidence by the tribunal, as there was no objection by the prosecution.
The witness said he didn’t go to the CCB with Onnoghen in 2005 to collect assets declaration form upon the latter’s elevation to the Supreme Court.
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Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that Justice Walter Onnoghen said that he deserved an apology from the federal government since, according to him, it had failed to tender any credible evidence before the CCT to establish that he committed any offence.
The suspended CJN referred to the exhibits presented by the federal government in their suit against him as “hearsay, irrelevant and useless evidence”.
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