(Latest Reports on CJN Onoghen’s Case at CCT as The Prosecution Close Its Case)
Dear respected members of the Peoples Parliament, I hope you people are still following up with proceedings before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on CJN Onoghen’s case. See some major Highlights:
- The Prosecution has closed its case against the CJN Onnoghen. (See https://www.courtroommail.com/2019/03/22/fg-closes-case-against-onnoghen-after-three-witnesses/).
- From the totality of the evidence given by the prosecution, and the testimony of the witnesses called by the prosecution, the following facts have emerged:
- CJN Onoghen has only 5 houses, not 55 as alleged by his social media persecutors and liars. The first witness (PW2), an ex director of the Code of Conduct Bureau, amongst other things, testified that Onnoghen has only 5 houses as against the 55 he was accused of having. He also stated that Onnoghen assets declaration form has not been VERIFIED.
- All the evidence the prosecution gave is on the contents of the CJN’s asset declaration form. No prosecution witness said anything about the alleged non-declared assets nor of any false declaration of assets of the CJN. No one told us the contents of what he was said to not have declared.
- CJN Onnoghen’s Asset Declaration Forms were NOT verified as required by law before the charges against him were filed at the CCT. A prosecution witness revealed that the column for verified assets had not been signed as verified even as at today. According to the witness, it is the standard practice at the CCB that returned asset declaration forms must pass through three stages of verification. Hear the witness speaking before the CCT: “My lord we have three stages of verification, the first is at the time of submission of forms, the second is what we call conference verification whereby we invite the person. And the third is physical verification of the assets. Until these three stages are completed, we cannot say that the assets have been verified”. Commenting on this, a public affairs analyst, legal commentator, and Law Lecturer, Mr. Nonso Attoh, has this to say: ”It’s shocking… After so many years they still haven’t verified and yet they can quickly file a charge without taking the required preliminary steps. At least you cannot say that there is a false declaration if you have not verified it to be either true or false.”
- Contents of Asset Declaration Forms are confidential, by law. Such must not be accessed by outsiders, except with the permission of the CCT Chairman. All returned forms are kept under lock and key in most secured place at the CCB. “It is only with the permission of the Chairman that the forms can be accessed”. A prosecution witness told the CCT at the trial that he was not aware that the CCB Chairman ever authorised the group that wrote the petition that led to Onnoghen’s trial, to have access, make photocopy or take away the Certified True Copy of returned asset declaration forms in custody of the Bureau. The witness, Mr. Yakassai, admitted that the petitioner quoted details of Onnoghen’s asset declaration forms, his account numbers, verbatim, indicating that they had access to the forms in custody of the CCB. Asked if he would agree that it is a criminal offence for anyone to hack into the archives of the CCB, the witness said he does not know. “Honestly, I don’t know what happened here so I cant say anything about it. I don’t know if the CCB had ever reported to the police or any other agency that the CCB records were hacked into”.
Reacting to this, Mr Nonso Attoh states: ”This is yet another issue that any true lover of justice must be concerned about which must not be swept under the carpet. Who authorized access to the CJN’s forms while denying access to other forms. If highly placed and influential Nigerians keep quiet about the perversion of due process going on at the CCT, then we can be sure that the CCT has become and will continue to be a hit-squad for tarnishing the image of perceived enemies of the Executive. That is clearly not the reason it was established.”
- NO EVIDENCE IN COURT THAT CJN HAS THE HUGE SUMS, contrary to what was PARADED DURING THE SOCIAL MEDIA PERSECUTION ❗— No prosecution witness has tendered any evidence on the large sums of money the CJN was alleged on the social media to have. You would recall that during the social media trial persecutorial proceedings, it had been alleged that huge sums of money were discovered in the CJN’s bank accounts. Some people even claimed to be in possession of leaked documents showing that the CJN had humongous amounts in his bank account. Anyway, no one talked about all these at the CCT trial and the prosecution has now CLOSED its case. Earlier in the proceedings, the third prosecution witness, PW-3, Mr. Ifeoma Okagbue, a staff of Standard Chartered Bank in Abuja, told the tribunal that it was not true that the defendant possessed either $1million or £1million in any of the five bank accounts that necessitated the charge. Okagbue who told the tribunal that she started managing Onnoghen’s bank accounts since 2015, gave a load down of both the opening and closing balance of all the accounts from January 2018 to January 2019. She said the accounts were all linked to one Bank Verification Code, BVN, adding that the bank had upon securing an approval from the defendant, diverted funds from the accounts into various profit yielding ventures. The PW-3 told the tribunal that profits that accrued from the investments were credited back into the accounts.
While two of the accounts are in Naira, the three others were Pounds Sterling, Euro and Dollar accounts. The witness told the tribunal that all the accounts were domiciliary, and were opened and managed at the branch of the bank in Wuse 2, Abuja. Before Mrs. Okagbue mounted the witness box, the PW-2, who is a retired Director at the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, Mr. Awal Yakassai, told the Mr. Umar led three-man panel that contrary to what was alleged in the media, he said the suspended CJN owned only five houses.
He said it was not true that CCB investigators linked the ownership of 55 houses to the defendant. (See https://www.vanguardngr.com/2019/03/breaking-fg-closes-case-against-onnoghen-after-3-witnesses/). Commenting on this development, an ibadan-based legal practitioner, Mr. Nwabueze Onuoha, observes: ”What can one say about that learned SAN that went to town demonizing the Hon CJN Onnoghen, claiming he(the SAN) did not have more than or was it up to 10,000 US dollars in his account? Should he not go back to channels TV and apologize to the Hon CJN? I thought he would be called as one of the prosecution witnesses..” Also, on hearing that the prosecution had closed its case and seeing reports of the case as presented by the prosecution, a former Attorney-General of Oyo State of Nigeria and respected learned Senior, Mr. Michael Lana, couldn’t hold back his feelings. He was compelled to make the following comments: ”I think there’s something missing unless the social media reports of the CCT proceedings are not true …. The evidence proffered by the prosecution is at variance with the charge. Mind you, the evidence we have read is the evidence of the prosecution, not that of the defence. This evidence only proved what he has which is far below what he was alleged to have and didn’t declare. Still nobody gave evidence on what was not declared. They concentrated on what he has. Look at count 1 for instance, it alleged that cjn between 2005 to 2016 failed to declare his assets but nobody gave any evidence on this. The banker only gave evidence on running his account in 2018: the CCB investigator said he has only 5 houses etc. This has no relevance to the charge”. On his part, a Learned Professor of Law, M. T. Abdulrasaq, out of shock, posed the following rhetorical question, ”What then is it about what the CJN is alleged to have said he forgot to include in his asset declaration form?”
I, UDEMS, on my part, just thought I should let us see how things are going on at the CCT. Nothing more to say for now. Lest I forget, I also read reports that the CJN is planning to file a No-Case Submission. Have you too heard this. (See https://www.vanguardngr.com/2019/03/cct-charge-ive-no-case-to-answer-onnoghen-insists/). I would like to end this Report by referring to (with approval) a statement credited to my bosom friend, Steve Sun: *”…. all of us who are minister in the temple of justice, must always guard against laying bad precedents ….
The summary of my point being that whenever age-old rules and/or norms are bent in order to suit a particular person or situation, it will almost always come back to haunt those who bent same!” (see https://thenigerialawyer.com/cct-versus-cjn-steve-suns-eyes-are-now-open-he-has-woken-up-from-his-slumber-by-ibrahim-w-idowu-esq/).
Finally, as I am now used to saying, asking God to “bless Nigeria “is an ungrateful and abominable prayer because God has already blessed Nigeria abundantly. What Nigeria urgently needs from God Almighty is HELP❗❗Yes, we need help. Quote me❗
I hope to be back with more reports shortly. Good morning.