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False assets declaration: Onnoghen opens defence, names CCB director as witness

SUSPENDED Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, has opened his defence in the case of false assets declaration filed against him by the federal government at the Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja.

Onnoghen’s counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo, called his first witness on Monday following the striking out of the no-case-submission he filed after the prosecuting team had closed its case.

Before calling his witness (Lawal Busari, Onnoghen’s driver), Awomolo asked the tribunal to subpoena one Miss Theresa Nwafor, a Director with the Code of Conduct Bureau in Benin, Edo State to appear as one of the defence witnesses.

Chairman of the tribunal, Danladi Umar, acceded to the request and ordered that the said witness should be at the next court sitting on Wednesday, April 3, by 10 am.

In his testimony, Busari said he was the one who went to the CCB to receive the assets declaration form on Onnoghen’s behalf and also returned it after the suspended CJN had filled it, and that he was issued a receipt. He said that he too collected and filled his own copy of the assets declaration form and also obtained a receipt.

The defence team sought that the receipts be admitted in evidence but following an objection by the defence counsel, only the receipt of Onnoghen’s assets declaration form was admitted.

According to the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act 1991, the punishment for contravening any of the provisions of the Act, includes: “vacation of office or any elective or nominated office, as the case may be; disqualification from holding any public office (whether elective or not) for a period not exceeding ten years; and seizure and forfeiture to the State of any property acquired in abuse or corruption of office”.

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