By: Oshewa Promise

The suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen has filed an appeal against the guilty judgement and ban by the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

A copy of his Notice of Appeal made available to The Boss indicates that he has filed a 16-point appeal with a view of upturning the CCT and restore what remains of his image. It will be recalled that on Thursday, having found Onnoghen guilty, the tribunal chaired by Justice Danladi Umar removed him from office as Chief Justice of Nigeria, as Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC), and as Chairman of the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC). It also said Onnoghen is to forfeit the money in his five bank domiciliary accounts that were not declared to the Nigerian Government because they were acquired illegally, and as well barred him from holding public office for the next 10 years.

However, in the appeal filed at the Registry of the tribunal shortly after the judgment, Onnoghen faulted the judgement on 16 grounds, and urged the Court of Appeal to set it aside. He asked the Court of Appeal to hold that the CCT lacked the jurisdiction to hear the charge and that the tribunal ought to have recused itself from the trial. He also prayed the Appeal Court to set aside all the orders made by the tribunal in the judgment, including that of forfeiture of his five domiciliary accounts to the Nigerian government.

“The lower tribunal erred in law when it dismissed the Appellant’s application challenging its jurisdiction and thus occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice”

“The lower tribunal erred in law when it dismissed the Appellant’s application seeking the chairman to rescue himself from further proceedings on the ground of real likelihood of bias and thus occasioned a miscarriage of justice”

“The lower tribunal erred in law when it refused to recuse itself from the proceedings in view of the open declaration by the Chairman of the tribunal that he is only accountable to the President, who appointed him and nobody else, because he is not a judicial officer and thus, occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice,” he said.

“The lower tribunal erred in law when it held that the appellant confessed to the charges framed by admission and used that as a basis to hold that the appellant did not declare his assets from the year 2005 when he became a justice of the Supreme Court and thus occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice.

“The lower tribunal erred in law when it held that the evidence of DW1 and exhibit DW2 tendered it has affirmed the statement of the appellant that he forgot to make a declaration in 2009 but did in 2010 when he remembered showing there was a declaration after all contrary to count one of the charge.”

“The lower tribunal erred in law when it held that the appellant is guilty of counts 2 – 6 of the charge in view of the fact that the appellant made an admission that he did not declare the Standard Chartered Bank account numbers in the 2014 declaration and thus occasioned a miscarriage of justice.”

“The lower tribunal erred in law when it held that the appellant made false statement by the omission to declare the account numbers in Standard Chartered Bank in 2014 declaration, the same way he did in the 2016 declaration and held counts 2 – 6 to be proved to be proved and thus occasioned miscarriage of justice.”

“The lower tribunal erred in law and acted without jurisdiction when it ordered that the assets of the Appellant be confiscated and thus occasioned a miscarriage of justice.”

“The lower tribunal erred in law when it held that count one of the charge is valid and proceeded to convict the Appellant upon it.”

“The lower tribunal erred in law when it held that Exhibit 1 is not a documentary hearsay but admissible in law and this occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice.”

“The lower tribunal erred in law when it held that exhibits 4 and 5 are admissible contrary to the provision of the Evidence Act and thus occasioned a miscarriage of justice.”

“The Honourable tribunal erred in law when it convicted the Defendant/Appellant on COUNT ONE of the charge, for failure to declare his assets and liabilities, even when the essential elements of the offence as charged had not been proved beyond reasonable doubt as required by law.”

“The Honourable Tribunal erred in law when it tried and convicted the Defendant/Appellant for failure to declare and submit assets declaration Forms, between 2005 and 2016, which alleged offence is unknown to law; and in total violation of Section 36 (12) of the 1999 constitution.”

“The Honourable Tribunal erred in law when it convicted the defendant/appellant for false declaration of assets when the essential elements of the offence as defined under Paragraph 11 (2) of the fifth schedule to the constitution (1999) had not been proved beyond reasonable doubt.”

“The lower Tribunal erred in law when it convicted the defendant/Appellant based on an alleged confessional statement, which confession statement did not constitute confession as known as law, as it was not precise, clear and unequivocal as required by law to sustain a conviction.”

“The Honourable Tribunal erred in law when it placed on the defendant the burden of proving his innocence in violation of Section 36(5) of the 1999 constitution, and section 135 (1) of Evidence Act 2011.”

Onnoghen hence seek relief from the Court of Appeal, that to rescue him from the proceeding and also set aside the order to forfeiture his asset by the tribunal and also declare him free.

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