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Drama as Onnoghen accuses FG of tampering with assets forms

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Drama as Onnoghen accuses FG of tampering with assets forms

The suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJan) Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, has alleged that agents of the Federal Government tampered with his Assets Declaration Forms submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).

He made the claim at his resumed trial yesterday at the CCT.

The said documents include CCB Assets Declaration Forms of 2014 and 2015.

The first prosecution witness, James Akpalla, a senior investigative officer with the CCB, sought to tender the said documents in support of his evidence against Onnoghen during yesterday’s proceedings.

When the documents were shown to the defendant, however, Onnoghen, through his counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, told the tribunal that a careful look at them showed that they had been tampered with.

According to him, the 2014 form “has become loose, part of it mutilated and has become blue in a way.”

Awomolo stated that a similar observation was made in the 2015 form with duplications and omissions of some pages. “We have some reservations on the documents. We will not object in the interest of justice but we have reservations that would be addressed at the end of the day,” he said.

Akpalla, in his evidence in chief, told the tribunal that the CCB on January 10 referred a petition written by the Anti-Corruption and Research Database Initiative to his team for investigation.

The witness added that on the strength of the petition signed by one Chief Dennis Aghanya, he visited Onnoghen in his office at the Supreme Court, where a cautionary statement was obtained from him, while letters were also written to the Standard Chartered Bank for account details of the defendant with the bank.

He further held that the following day, January 11, the bank responded, prompting the investigating team to conclude their enquiry and prepare their report.

Under cross examination, the witness informed the tribunal that he did not know whether the CCB has a central registry and register where returned assets forms are deposited and registered.

While responding to another question, the witness told the tribunal that investigation into the petition against Onnoghen was concluded within 24 hours.

Drama however ensued when Awomolo confronted the witness with the charge against Onnoghen, proof of evidence, list of exhibits and witnesses, which were all dated January 10, when investigation into the petition had not been completed.

Also, when the witness attempted to deny the involvement of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the CCB investigation, Awomolo confronted him with yet another set of documents from Standard Chartered Bank addressed to the EFCC but tendered by the witness.

At this point, the witness said he was not aware that the charges against Onnoghen were filed before the completion of the investigation and consequently declined further comments on the bank’s document addressed to the EFCC.

In the course of the proceedings, the petition against Onnoghen, two documents from his bank, his cautionary statement and the two assets declaration forms he once submitted to the CCB were admitted as exhibits by the tribunal.

Meanwhile, hearing on the matter has been adjourned till March 21.

It is expected that on that adjourned date, the account officer to Onnoghen, already summoned by the tribunal, will appear in relation to the documents submitted to the CCB.

Prosecution counsel, Aliyu Umar, had earlier asked the court to subpoena the bank official after Awomolo had opposed tendering the bank document on the ground that since the witness did not author or sign the document, he could not tender it as an exhibit before the tribunal.

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Lagos Based Businessman Wants NJC to Investigate Judge For Alleged Bias

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Lagos Based Businessman Wants NJC to Investigate Judge For Alleged Bias

A Lagos based businessman, Chima Nsudum, has petitioned the National Judicial Council (NJC) urging it to investigate Justice D. E. Osiagor of the Federal High Court in Umuahia, Abia State, over his alleged bias in a case before him.

Nsudum, in his petition, a copy of which was obtained by this news medium, wants the NJC to probe the alleged poor handling of a winding up proceeding of a private limited liability company, Davebenlin Nigeria Limited.

The petitioner clamed that on December 4, 2019, the Judge received a notice of appeal, and an application for stay of proceedings pending appeal, forcing him to adjourn the main suit indefinitely.

“However in spite of the order for adjournment granted by the judge, in the suit number: FHC/UM /PET/02 2018 between Chima Nsudum and Davebenlin Nigeria Limited, he later fixed a new date for hearing of the matter without the conclusion of the appeal.”

According to him, the judge fixed
July 23, 2020 for hearing of a motion by Davebenlin Nigeria Limited, seeking to confiscate the brand name ‘KMCA’ of a Sandpaper product owned by his company, Panadave Investments Limited, anywhere it was found in Nigeria on the allegation that they were newly imported in contravention of the Judge’s injunctive order.

The petitioner claimed that Panadeve Investments Limited is not a party in the suit.

Nsudum further claimed that “during the proceedings on the 23rd of July 2020, in the face of a Motion on Notice by the petitioner’s counsel, seeking an adjournment of the motion for stay of proceedings, in deference firstly, to the court’s own ruling, secondly, to the Motion for stay of proceedings pending at the Court of Appeal and thirdly, to the Record which had been entered, Justice Osiagor still insisted on hearing Davebenlin’s Motion.

“The judge was, however, forced to adjourn the matter to October 13, because the time had not run out for the petitioner to file counter-affidavits to the Motion.

“Nevertheless, he still went ahead to make an order for maintenance of status-quo by the parties.”

“In the meantime, a Form 48 (Notice of disobedience to an order of court) was served on the petitioner’s office, with a copy of the order of 23rd July 2020 as an attachment.

“The Form 48 was dated 24th of July 2020, meaning that the order attached was obtained most probably on the 23rd of July 2020 by Davebenlin’s counsel, while the petitioner’s counsel has been denied access to the proceedings/order to date,” Nsudum alleged.

“The Judge has consistently refused recording my lawyers and their submission. For example, the Judge attributed his order that ‘parties should maintain status quo’ on the 23rd of July 2020 to my lawyer, Barrister U.A. Emeagwara, when no such application emanated from him on that day.

“In view of the foregoing, the petitioner is uneasy about the conduct and disposition of Hon. Justice Osiagor, and does not believe he can have a fair-hearing before him, hence his petition,” he claimed.

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PDP hails Appeal Court Ruling that upturned sack of Bayelsa governor Diri

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PDP  hails Appeal Court Ruling that upturned sack of Bayelsa governor Diri

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has acclaimed the Court of Appeal ruling on Friday, October 2, 2020 that upheld the election of Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State.
The country’s main opposition party described the Appellate Court judgment as victory for the rule of law and true will of the Bayelsa people.


A statement by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan said; “Our party congratulates the people of Bayelsa and notes that the celebration that erupted in state at the breaking of the news of the verdict is not only a testimony that indeed justice was upheld but also that Govenor Diri is indeed the choice of the people.”
The PDP noted that just like other governors elected on its platform, “Governor Diri indeed had hit the ground running in the task of developing Bayelsa state, particularly in his outline of projects in key sectors.”

The party listed the sectors to include, manufacturing, agriculture, oil and gas, power, road infrastructure, and education, among others, noting that the Governor Diri’s administration is focused on developing the state despite the prevailing fiscal challenges.
“Our party therefore urges Governor Diri not to relent but continue in his commitment towards the good of all, in line with the manifesto of the PDP”, the statement said.
A five-man panel of the court of appeal had overturned a ruling which nullified the election of Douye Diri as governor of Bayelsa State on Friday.
The court held that the Bayelsa Election Petition Tribunal acted outside its jurisdiction by nullifying the election of Diri’s election.
In a unanimous judgment, the five-man panel of the court said the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party failed to show that it had a valid candidature that was unlawfully excluded by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

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Kogi CJ names ICT Centre after predecessor, Ajanah

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Kogi CJ names ICT Centre after predecessor, Ajanah


By Friday Idachaba

Chief Judge of Kogi, Justice Henry Olusiyi has named the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) centre of the state Judiciary after the immediate past Chief Judge of the state, late Justice Nasir Ajanah.

Olusiyi disclosed this at a Valedictory and Special Court Session in honour of deceased and retired Judicial Officers of the state judiciary at the state High Court Complex on Tuesday in Lokoja.

The Acting Chief Judge who described late Ajanah as his bossom friend, brother, colleague and boss said it was essential for him to rechristen the the ICT centre after Ajanah as part of efforts to immortalise him.

This, according to him, is in view of the late jurist’s commitment to the establishment of the centre as part of efforts to digitise and automate the operations of the state judiciary.

“We are doing this to immortalise his name in recognition of his contributions to the administration of Justice in Nigeria and particularly, in Kogi State.

“The ICT centre was built under his leadership. It was commissioned in 2014 and it contains quite a number of state-of-the-art communication facilities.

“So, it’s now my great privilege and honour to dedicate this Centre to the service of mankind and to the glory of the almighty God.

“From now henceforth, the High Court of Justice ICT Centre shall be known and referred to as ‘Honourable Justice Nasir Ajanah (CON) ICT Centre’.

“It is our hope that it will serve as a nucleus for our efforts to automate our Court processes in Kogi State Judiciary”, Olusiyi said. (NAN)

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