Embattled Justice Walter Onnoghen has rejected the judgement of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) which convicted him of six counts of false declaration of assets preferred against him by the Federal Government.
Shortly after the judgement delivered on Thursday, the judge filed a notice of appeal at the Court of Appeal in Abuja to challenge the ruling of the Tribunal. In the notice, the “Federal Government of Nigeria” was listed as the only respondent.
Part of it read, “Take notice that the appellant herein, Justice Onnoghen Nkanu Walter Samuel being dissatisfied with the rulings/judgement of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Coram Danladi Umar (Chairman), William Atedze (Member I) and Julie A Anakor (Member II) delivered on the 18th of April, 2019, wherein it ruled on the application challenging its jurisdiction and to recuse itself from the proceedings as well the judgement on the substantive matter against the appellant, do hereby appeal upon the grounds set out in paragraph 3 hereof and will at the hearing of the appeal, seek the reliefs and orders set out in paragraph 4.”
In one of the 16 grounds, Justice Onnoghen said the CCT erred in law when it dismissed his application challenging its jurisdiction and thus, occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice. He added that the Tribunal erred in law when it dismissed his application seeking the chairman to recuse himself from further proceedings on the ground of “bias”.
Justice Onnoghen, however, sought an order of the appeal court allowing his appeal and that the CCT lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the case. He also asked the court to set aside his conviction as well as discharge and acquit him, among other prayers. The Tribunal had convicted Justice Onnoghen and removed him from office as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
It also banned him from holding public office for the next 10 years and ordered the judge to forfeit all five accounts said not to have been declared by him between 2009 and 2015. The Tribunal held that the government proved beyond reasonable doubt that Justice Onnoghen breached the Code of Conduct for Public Officers.