The scheduled arraignment of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen at the Code of Conduct Tribunal onallegations of false declaration of assets, proceeded today with the CJN conspicuously absent but his team of counsel was present to represent his defence.

According to reports, the members of the Danladi Umar-led three-man tribunal arrived in the courtroom at exactly 10 am and called the case at 10.01 am

The court official who announced the case observed that CJN was not present and then notified the tribunal chairman of the development.

After the lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Aliyu Umar (SAN), announced his appearance, the tribunal asked the court official whether the CJN had been served with the charges and summons.

The court official confirmed that the CJN was served through his personal assistant.

He said, “He was served through his personal assistant. We went to his house and the defendant directed his personal assistant to collect the charge on his behalf.

“So the defendant has been served.”

Aside the allegation that he failed to disclose his assets as prescribed by law, the Federal Government, in the charge that was filed by the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, equally accused the CJN of operating foreign bank accounts.

The prosecuting counsel alleged that contrary to relevant laws regulating the conduct of public office holders, the CJN, maintained a domiciliary foreign currencies account that comprised of Dollars Account, Pound Sterling Account and Euro Account.

Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) who led 46 other Senior Advocates of Nigeria and 43 other lawyers, told the tribunal that the CJN had filed a motion dated January 14, challenging jurisdiction of the tribunal to try him. “We are not just challenging jurisdiction, we are even challenging the jurisdiction of this tribunal to even sniff that charge”, Olanipekun submitted.

Four lawyers appeared with the lead prosecuting counsel.

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