NJC ends probe on Onnoghen, Muhammad, forwards recommendations to Buhari

…suspended NJC closes case at CCT

The National Judicial Commission (NJC) has concluded investigation into allegations of misconduct levelled against suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, NJC, and the acting NJC, Tanko Muhammad and has forwarded its recommendation to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The NJC, however, failed to disclose contents of the recommendations of their findings to Buhari, but said it had taken a decision on the matter.

The body had set up a five-man panel to investigate allegations against Onnoghen and Muhammad.

According to a statement by NJC’s Director of Information, Soji Oye, on Wednesday, the body said its findings and recommendation had been forwarded to Buhari for appropriate action.

According to the statement, the National Judicial Council reconvened on Wednesday in an emergency meeting to consider the report of the Five-man Committee constituted to investigate the allegations of misconduct made against Onnoghen and Muhammad.

“Council decided that the allegations relating to assets declaration that were levelled against Hon. Mr. Justice W. S. N. Onnoghen, GCON were subjudice and therefore abstained from considering them.

“Council reached a decision on the petitions written by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and others and conveyed its decision to President Muhammadu Buhari,” it stated.

Meanwhile, Onnoghen has closed his case at the Code of Conduct Tribunal where he was being tried for alleged false assets declaration.

Onnoghen’s lawyer, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), had indicated on Monday that the defence would be calling “two or three witnesses,” only one of whom had testified at the previous Monday’s proceedings.

In addition, the defence had, on Monday, applied for and caused the Danladi Umar-led CCT to issue a subpoena to be served on an officer of the Code of Conduct Bureau, Mrs. Theresa Nwafor, to appear on Wednesday to testify as the second defence witness.

It was not clear if Nwafor was present at the tribunal when Onnoghen’s lead defence counsel for the Wednesday’s proceedings, Chris Uche (SAN), rose to announce the closure of the defendant’s case.

Uche made no mention of Nwafor or any other proposed defence witness.

He said, “My lords, today is for continuation of trial. But my lords, after a deep review of the evidence led by the prosecution and the defence, the defence has come to conclusion and we have closed our case.

“Pursuant to paragraph 14 of the Practice Direction of this honourable tribunal, we apply to file our final written addresses.”

He asked for 14 days to file the final written address.

The prosecuting counsel, Aliyu Umar (SAN), said Uche had given him prior indication to close the defence’s case on Wednesday, urging the tribunal to use its discretion to allot time for the filing of final addresses by the parties.

The next stage in the trial would be for parties to exchange their final addresses and return to the tribunal on a date to adopt the court papers.

The date for judgment would be fixed after the adoption of the final addresses.

The prosecution had earlier closed its case with three witnesses.

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