The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has adjourned sine die (indefinitely) the trial of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Samuel Onnoghen, who was suspended last Friday by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Onnoghen was charged before the tribunal by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) on a 6-count charge of non-declaration of assets.
At the resumed hearing today, prosecution counsel, Musa Ibrahim said the matter was adjourned till today for hearing of preliminary objection filed by the defence but in view of the order from the Court of Appeal, the prosecution would be asking for adjournment pending the ruling of the Court of Appeal.
The lead defence counsel, Kanu Agabi (SAN) said the defence does not have any objection to the application.
The tribunal chairman, Danladi Umar thereafter asked the counsels: “Do you want us to adjourn for a few weeks within which the Court of Appeal would have made its decision and you would come back here to update us?”
Responding, Agabi suggested the matter be adjourned sine die.
Ruling on the application, the tribunal chairman held that “In view of the order of the Court of appeal to stay proceeding, I have the respect for the Court of Appeal, I hereby adjourn the matter sine die pending the determination of the case at the Court of Appeal.”
It was observed that only a member of the tribunal joined its chairman during today’s sittings unlike on other days. The other member of the tribunal that was absent today is William Atedze Agwadza.
An official of the tribunal told our reporter that Agwadza called in sick today and that he said he was in the hospital.
Agwadza had given the minority ruling at the last sitting asking the tribunal to obey the several court orders restraining it from continuing with the trial.
However, the chairman and member 2 had held that the several court orders do not have binding effect on the tribunal as the tribunal is on a coordinate jurisdiction with the courts from where the orders emanated.
His name was also missing on the ex-parte order the president used in suspending Onnoghen.