Nigerians React As FG Closes Case Against Onnoghen

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The Federal Government on Thursday closed its case of false and non-declaration of charges preferred against the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT.

The prosecution led by Aliyu Umar (SAN) had proposed to call six witnesses against the CJN over the six-count allegations of false asset declaration, but only three witnesses were called, Daily Trust reports.

Justice Onnoghen has indicated he will make a no case submission on Friday March 29 when he opens his defence, says the daily.

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The second prosecution witness, Auwal Usman Yakassai, a retired director in the CCB, told the tribunal that he received and filed the CJN’s asset declaration forms in 2016.

During cross examination by defence counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) said only the chairman of the CCB can authorise access to asset forms stored in the bureau.

He said he did not know how the NGO that petitioned the bureau against the CJN obtained details of the declaration which the Awomolo said were quoted “word for word, figure for figure,” adding that he is not aware if a report was made to the police against the NGO for the disclosure.

Yakassai also admitted that the asset forms filed by the CJN in 2016 where he indicated that he has only five houses, were not verified by the CCB.

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The daily reports that under re-examination by prosecution counsel, Umar, he explained that the bureau has three stages of verification of asset of public officials, which include at the time of the submission of the asset form, the stage of inviting the declarant to the office and the third stage when they go to the filed for physical inspection of the properties.

Ifeoma Okagbue, a relationship manager with the Standard Chartered Bank PLC, also testified, saying that she manages five bank accounts belonging to the CJN, which has Naira, Dollar, Euros and Pound Sterling.

5001062686 opened April 2010 with an opening balance in January, 2018 of 30, 178.58 Euros; 0001062667 opened in June 2009 with an opening balance of 2, 656, 019.21; 0001062650 opened in June 2009 with an opening balance of 80, 824.25; 5001062679 opened in March, 2010 with an opening balance of 39, 456.06 Pounds Sterling; 5001062693 opened February 2011 6, 411,312.77 Naira, Stella listed.

The news has since stirred reactions on social media.

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