The Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, has ordered both the Inspector-General of Police and the Director-General of the Department of State Services, DSS, to arrest the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen.
Delivering a ruling of the three-man tribunal, the Chairman of the CCT, Danladi Umar, ordered the IGP, Mohammed Adamu and the DSS Director General, Yusuf Magaji to ensure that Onnoghen is produced before the tribunal on Friday.
He dismissed the objection raised to the application for the issuance of the arrest warrant and ordered that “I want to see the defendant in the dock on Friday”.
The CCT had made the order following an application by the lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Aliyu Umar SAN, who said the consistent absence of the CJN from the CCT was a violation of provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
Umar, who anchored his application for Onnothghen’s arrest on section 6(1) of the Practice Direction of the CCT, also opposed the call on the three-man tribunal by the lead defence counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), to hear all pending applications.
Umar maintained that by virtue of section 396(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 no objections could be raised by the defendant until he took his plea.
The prosecuting counsel said Onnoghen having not taken his plea, the objection by him could not be heard.
But the defendant counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo cited the unresolved applications that must be done for purposes of fair hearing to his client, Onnoghen, stressing that the issue of jurisdiction of the tribunal, its impartiality, ought to be resolved.
He further argued that the presence of his client in the eyes of the law was not mandatory unless during arraignment. But that the prevailing issues for determination was not for arraignment today.
Newsworth recalls that a civil society group, Anti-Corruption and Research-Based Data Initiative, ARDI, had petitioned the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, listing a number of allegations against Onnoghen.
He was accused of maintaining domiciliary foreign currencies account said to be contrary to relevant laws, especially for public office holders.
But the suspended CJN had accused the tribunal of bias in his trial, and filed an application for a stay of proceeding of the case, at the court of appeal but the court turned it down.