- Walter Onnoghen has filed a notice of appeal at the appellate court, challenging the ruling of the Code of Conduct Tribunal
- The CCT had found Onnoghen guilty of the six counts preferred against him by the federal government
- The embattled suspended CJN is seeking an order setting aside his conviction and forfeiture of his assets
The embattled former chief justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, has rejected the judgement of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) which found him guilty of the the charges of false and non-declaration of assets preferred against him.
Onnoghen has filed a notice of appeal at the Court of Appeal in Abuja to challenge the ruling of the tribunal. The federal government was listed as the only respondent, The Cable reports.
The CCT chairman, Danladi Umar, in his ruling on Thursday, April 18, said partial admittance of forgetting to declare asset by the defendant is enough evidence. It added that after its scrutiny it has come to the conclusion that the defendant carefully omitted declaration of his asset in his CCB form 1.
In the appeal filed by Adeboyega Awomolo, Chris Uche, Okon Efut, Ogwu Onoja and George Ibrahim, his counsels, Onnoghen said the tribunal erred when it dismissed his application.
In ground one the embattled judge said: “The appellant was at the time the charges were filed on the 11th of January, 2019 before the lower tribunal a judicial officer and was not subject to the jurisdiction of the lower tribunal."
In ground two, he asked the CCT chairman to recuse himself from further proceedings.
“Once an allegation of real likelihood of the bias is raised the court or tribunal will have nothing more to say except to wash its hands from further proceedings in the matter," he said.
In ground sixteen, Onnoghen said the tribunal erred when it placed on the defendant the burden of proving his innocence which according to him is a violation of section 36 (5) of the constitution.
According to him, the onus was on the prosecution to prove that he did not declare and submit his assets declaration form to the Code of Conduct Bureau for over 11 years as charged.
Onnoghen thereby sought for the following reliefs:
- An order allowing this appeal.
- An order that the lower tribunal lacks jurisdiction to entertain the case.
- An order that the lower tribunal ought to have recuse itself from proceedings before it.
- An order that the charge has become academic
- An order setting aside the the conviction of the appellant
- An order setting aside the order for forfeiture of assets made by the honorable tribunal.
- An order discharging and acquitting the appellant.
The CCT chairman had on Thursday, April 18, ruled that Onnoghen be removed from office of CJN and banned from holding public office for 10 years. He also ordered the forfeiture of the money in the five accounts which the defendant failed to declare as part of his assets.
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Hours after the ruling, the presidency reacted, describing it as an end to impunity. The presidency further said the decision of the CCT was a major victory for the war against corruption as is being fought by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
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