Walter Onnoghen, the embattled Chief Justice of Nigeria, has appealed the judgement of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) over his alleged non-declaration of assets.
The CCT led by Danladi Umar, had on Thursday convicted Mr Onnoghen, banning him from holding any public office for a period of 10 years.
The top jurist was accused of not declaring some assets traced to him. While being arraigned by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), he challenged the jurisdiction of the CCT to entertain the matter.
But giving his ruling, Mr Umar claimed that the tribunal has jurisdiction over the matter dismissing another petition of bias levelled against him by the suspended jurist.
Heading to the appellate court, Mr Onnoghen insisted that the tribunal erred in law when it ruled that it had jurisdiction in the matter.
According to him, he was arraigned at the time when he was still a serving judicial officer, therefore the tribunal lacked powers to entertain the allegations against him.
“Once an allegation of real likelihood of the bias is raised, the Court or tribunal will have nothing more to say except to wash its hands from further proceedings in the matter,” Mr Onnoghen said in his appeal.
The embattled CJN also argued that the failure of Mr Umar to recuse himself vindicated the defence in their submission that Mr Umar was a “person of interest.”
Mr Onnoghen said it was against the principle of natural justice for Mr Umar to sit in judgement of his own case.
He also argued that there was no way the tribunal could have been fair, since the prosecution and the tribunal are both bodies working under the instructions of the executive arm of government which is arraigning him.
Mr Onnoghen made six requests before the tribunal.
- An order that the lower tribunal lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the case.
- An order that the lower tribunal ought to have recuse itself from the proceedings before it.
- An order that the charge has become academic.
- An order setting aside the conviction of the Appellant.
- An order setting aside the order for forfeiture of assets made by the Honourable Tribunal.
- An order discharging and acquitting the Appellant.