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JUST IN: CCT adjourns Onnoghen’s trial till April 15, as defence team closes case

The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has adjourned the trial of embattled suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen’s case till April 15, for continuation of the trial.

That was before the Defence team claimed it has rested its case in the ongoing trial on charges of false and non-declaration of assets.

The development came, on Wednesday, as a surprise after the defence lawyer, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), had indicated on Monday, April 1, that he would be calling two or three witnesses.

The defence had, on Monday, April 1, 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, Theresa Nwafor, to appear on Wednesday, April 3, to testify as the second defence witness.

It was, however, 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.

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“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.

He urged the tribunal to use its discretion to allot time for the filing of final addresses by the parties.

However, chairman of the CCT, Danladi Umar, said that the tribunal gave the defence three working days, from April 4 to April 8 file their address.

The chairman said the prosecution should file their address from April 9 to April 11. He further adjourned the case until April for adoption of written addresses.

It was reported that Onnoghen’s 60-year-old driver, Lawal Busari to the tribunal as his first defence witness following the March 29, ruling of the tribunal dismissing his no-case submission.

Busari entered the witness box, the tribunal issued an order of subpoena, on a director at the Code of Conduct Bureau, Mrs. Theresa Nwafor, to appear as the suspended CJN’s next witness on Wednesday.