CCT Overrules Itself On Power To Try Onnoghen
The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in its ruling on Thursday, noted that it has the legal power to try the former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen on charges of breach of the code of conduct for public prosecution.
The tribunal added that it was trying Onnoghen as a public officer, not as a judicial officer.
In its ruling today, the tribunal’s Chairman, Danladi Umar dismissed two motions by Onnoghen.
It said there was no need to first refer the charge against him to the National Judicial Council (NJC), challenging Onnoghen’s stand that he was being tried without a formal presentation of his case before the NJC.
The second asked the tribunal Chairman to remove himself from further sitting on the case on the grounds that he had been charged with demanding bribe.
Umar, in the ruling, said he has been absolved of the allegation that he demanded bribe from a defendant.
He added it was impossible for the Chairman to step down from a case because where there is no Chairman, there is no tribunal.
The tribunal Chairman also held that the CCT is not under any supervision of anybody, including the NJC and therefore, not subject to the directive of the NJC.
Umar reversed the tribunal’s earlier judgment in the case of Justice Sylvester Ngwuta on the grounds that its finding in the Ngwuta case was based on wrong legal principles and narrow interpretation of the statue.
The judgment in the Ngwuta case had upheld the Court of Appeal judgment in the case of Justice H. Nganjiwa, to the effect that any allegation of misconduct against a serving judicial officer must first be referred to the NJC.
Also, the three-man panel chaired by Danladi Umar, therefore, removed him from the office as CJN and NJC while, asking Onnoghen to forfeit the money in his five bank accounts that were not declared to the Nigerian Government because they were acquired illegally.
Source: Naija News