The no-case submission made by the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen has been rejected by the Code of Conduct Tribunal(CCT).
CCT Tribunal Chairman, Danladi Umar, in a ruling, said the prosecution has provided sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case against the defendant to warrant his being called to enter his defence.
Umar referred to a confessional statement made by the defendant in which he admitted omitting to declare the five domiciliary accounts he has been operating in Standard Chartered Bank since 20009.
The CCT Chairman said the confessional statement was sufficient to warrant the tribunal to ask the defendant to enter his defence if he has any. Umar rejected the no-case submission and ordered the defendant to enter a defence against the six-count charge of non-declaration of assets brought against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
Proceedings in the tribunal later went rowdy when after concluding his ruling, Umar adjourned to Monday (April 1, 2019) for the defendant to open his defence. Many lawyers in the defence team shouted in protest when Umar ignored appeals by lead defence lawyer, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) that April 1 was too short for the defendant to adequately prepare for his defence.
While Awomolo was still on his feet, asking the tribunal Chairman to allow the defendant sufficient time to prepare, Umar stood up and walked away, leaving other members of the tribunal to scamper after him. A dejected Awomolo accused Umar of oppressing the defence. As Umar and the two other members of the tribunal walked away, Awomolo said: “If this is justice, then, God bless Nigeria.”