11th March, 2019
The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on Monday reserved ruling on an application filed by Justice Walter Onnoghen, suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal to try him.
Mr Danladi Umar, Chairman of the tribunal took the decision to reserve the ruling on the motion after counsel to parties canvassed their positions on the matter in Abuja.
The tribunal also reserved ruling on another application brought by the suspended CJN urging the tribunal chairman to recuse himself from the trial process.
Umar said the tribunal had relied on Section 296(2) of the ACJA to reserve ruling on the two applications pending the hearing of the substantive matter.
He also held that the defendant’s trial would be conducted on daily basis in accordance with Section 296(3) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA).
ACJA gives the court the powers to entertain all substantive issues in criminal proceedings without deciding on interlocutory motions before judgment.
Umar further said the tribunal would in its next hearing entertain motions brought by the prosecution, adding that ruling in all pending interlocutory applications would be reserved.
“In the circumstance, all rulings needed can be ruled upon with the substantive matter. The hearing of the substantive matter shall proceed day by day,” Umar held.
Earlier, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), Counsel to Onnoghen urged the tribunal to take judicial notice of the defendant prayers, adding that the tribunal had no jurisdiction to entertain his client’s trial.
Awomolo also urged the chairman of the tribunal to recuse himself from the case as a result of obvious bias displayed so far.
Awomolo referred the tribunal to decide the motion challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal in line with constitutional provision.
According to him, they are several such decisions made by the Supreme Court to be used as parameters in deciding the application, adding that the tribunal should be guided only by the rule of law.
Malam Umar Aliyu (SAN), the Prosecutor prayed the tribunal to refuse in granting the two applications, adding that the tribunal was a creation of the constitution and therefore, had jurisdiction to handle the matter.
Onnoghen is standing a six-count charge of non-assets declaration.