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UPDATED: CCT withdraws arrest warrant as Onnoghen pleads not guilty

The suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen has entered a ‘Not Guilty’ plea at Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) even as the tribunal formally withdrew the arrest warrant it issued against the CJN.

The tribunal specifically directed the Inspector General of Police and the Director General of the Department of State Service, to execute the arrest warrant.

However, the order was not carried out as the suspended CJN, voluntarily appeared before the tribunal to enter his plea to the charge on the six-count of non declaration of all of his assets leveled against him.

The federal government had in the charge marked CCT/01/2019, alleged that Onnoghen who was suspended from office on January 25 by President Muhammadu Buhari, failed to declare his assets as prescribed by the law.

He was accused of operating foreign bank accounts since 2011, contrary to section 15(2) of Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.

Before the charges were read to him, the suspended CJN’s lead counsel, Chris Uche (SAN), applied to the tribunal to withdraw the arrest warrant issued by the CCT against the defendant earlier on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, immediately Onnoghen entered the dock, Uche, who led other lawyers, made an oral application for bail.

He was immediately granted bail on self-recognition by the tribunal and arrest warrant was discharged.

After the bail was granted, Uche also applied to the tribunal to adjourn to a date after the general elections.

The tribunal adjourned till March 11 to entertain pending motions challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal to try the suspended CJN.

 

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