Onnoghen: Tribunal adjourns proceedings to January 22

Onnoghen: Tribunal adjourns proceedings to January 22
The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has adjourned to January 22 the
proceedings in the non-declaration of assets charge against the Chief
Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Samuel Onnoghen.
The adjournment came following the agreement of all parties that the
charge and summons was not properly served on the CJN.
The CJN’s lead counsel, Wole Olanipekun (SAN) had argued that Section
123(a) of ACJA directs that in a criminal case, the summons must be
personally served on the defendant.
The prosecution counsel, Umar Aliyu had asked the tribunal to direct
that the bailiff must ensure that he does not take any contrary
directive but must ensure personal service on the CJN.
The CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar adjourned the proceedings to January 22.
He directed that the summons must be served on the defendant before the date.
He also directed that all the interlocutory applications would be
heard on the next adjourned date.
The CJN was absent throughout today’s proceedings.
The lead counsel for the federal government, Aliyu Umar (SAN) has
applied to the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) to issue another summons
on the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Samuel Onnoghen.
Umar said the tribunal should order that the summons should be served
personally on the CJN and not received on his behalf.
The tribunal official had informed that the CJN directed his personal
secretary should receive the summons when it was earlier served on
him.
The defence team, led by Wole Olanipekun (SAN) thereafter harped on
the impropriety of the service. He cited the provision of the
Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) that in a criminal
trial, the summons must be personally served on the defendant.
The Chairman of the CCT, Danladi Umar said with the agreement of both
parties that a fresh summons be issued, the tribunal would give
another date within the week for arraignment.
Replying, Olanipekun said no date in this week is convenient.
“Justice also entails fairness. With all respect, this matter started
on Friday, why the speed of lightening? We are talking of service and
the tribunal is talking about this week? I want to ask, why the
hurry”, he querried.
He suggested that the case be adjourned to January 28
It will be recalled that the Proceedings at the Code of Conduct
Tribunal (CCT) has started howbeit without the defendant, Chief
Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Walter Samuel Onnoghen present at the
tribunal.
When the case was called, the court official announced that the
defendant was not in court.
Aliyu Umar announced appearance for the prosecution. Four other
lawyers appeared with him.
Wole Olanipekun announced appearance as the lead counsel for the defendant
Adegboyega Awomolo, Kanu Agabi, Yusuf Ali, Chris Uche, Hassan Hassan,
Paul Erokoro, S.I. Ameh, Sebastine Hon.
Magaji Mahmoud, James Onoja, Akinlola Kehinde, Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume,
Victoria Awomolo, Tawo Tawo, Muyiwa Akinbolohun, Varile Azinge, Abdul
Ibrahim, Olubowale Taiwo, Garba Tetengi, Offiong Effiong, Patrick
Okolo.
However, Umar objected to the calling of all the counsels citing the
directives of the CJN that not more than five counsels should make
appearance for any party in any case.
Replying, Olanipekun said it is too early in the day for such argument.
Court official said the summons was served on the CJN through his
personal assistant.
As at 10:15am, Olanipekun said the defence has an application
challenging the jurisdiction of the court.
Umar objected to the taking of the application on the ground that the
defendant is not in court, has not taken his plea and that the
prosecution has just been served and would need time to respond..
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