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FG files charges against Onnoghen before completion of investigation – Defendant

The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) was told on Monday that Federal Government filed charges against the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, even before investigation on the petition against him by non-governmental organisation was completed.

Counsel to Onnoghen, Adegboyegba Awomolo, in cross-examining the first prosecution witness, James Akpala, a senior investigation officer with the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), asked Akpala if he knew that charge sheet which has six-count was dated January 10, the witness said he can’t answer the question.
“Is it correct to say that investigation was not completed before charges were filed at this tribunal, you obtained statement from the defendant about 1pm on January 11, you did not tell him that a case has already been filed against him”, the witness was asked again.
” I’m an investigative officer, I have no idea”, Akpala said.

Awomolo said if he would be surprised to know that investigation, filing of the case and granting leave by the tribunal to file the six-count charge of non-assets declaration brought against Onnoghen, were all done within 24 hours, the witness said he cannot answer.
According to Awomolo, the defendant made his statement on January 11 about 1pm in his office at the Supreme Court, it beats the imagination how the investigative team could write its  report and submitting it about 3pm, then approaching the tribunal, all same day.
Akpala said he would not know.
Asked if he was aware that the Standard Chartered Bank documents he tendered before the court earlier, were addressed to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the witness said he would not known how that came about.

Meanwhile, Onnoghen has alleged there that his Assets Declaration Form 001 at the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) was tampered with.
The said documents are the CCB assets declaration forms of 2014 and 2015.
Akpala  had sought to tender the said documents in support of his evidence against Onnoghen, through the prosecution counsel, Aliyu Umar.
However, when the documents were shown to the defendant, Onnoghen through Awomolo (SAN), he however said a careful look at the documents showed that they have been tampered with.
According to him, the 2014 form has become loose, part of it mutilated and has become blue in a way.

Awomolo said a similar observation was made in the 2015 form with some duplications and omission of some pages.
“We have some reservation on the documents, we will not object in the interest of justice but we have reservations that would be addressed at the end of the day”, the senior lawyer stated.
The case has been adjourned to March 21 for continuation of trial.
Onnoghen was arraigned on six count charge on January 11 for his failure to declare all his assets before Umar Danladi led CCT.

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