BREAKING: CCT says it has jurisdiction to try Onnoghen
The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has held that he has the power to try the former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen on charges of breach of code of conduct for public prosecution.
The tribunal said it was trying Onnoghen as a public officer, not as a judicial officer.
Hence it said there was no need to first refer the charge against him to the National Judicial Council (NJC).
In two ruling on Thursday, tribunal’s Chairman, Danladi Umar dismissed two motions by Onnoghen.
The first challenged the tribunal’s jurisdiction to try Onnoghen when the allegations against him had not been presented before the NJC.
The second asked the tribunal Chairman to recuse himself from further sitting on the case on the grounds that he had been charged with demanding bribe.
Umar, in the ruling, said the he has been absolved of the allegation that he demanded bribe from a defendant.
He added it was impossible for the Chairman to step down from a case, because where there is no Chairman, there is no tribunal.
The tribunal Chairman also held that the CCT is not under any supervision of any body, including the NJC and therefore, not subject to the directive of the NJC.
Umar reversed the tribunal’s earlier judgment in the case of Justice Sylvester Ngwuta on the grounds that its finding in the Ngwuta case was based wrong legal principles and narrow interpretation of statute.
The judgment in the Ngwuta case had upheld the Court of Appeal judgment in the case of Justice H. Nganjiwa, to the effect that any allegation of misconduct against a serving judicial officer must first be referred to the NJC.
Umar is currently reading the tribunal’s judgment in the substantive trial.