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Onnoghen owns only 5 buildings not 55, witness tells court



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A second prosecution witness, PW-2, on Thursday, appeared before the Mr Danladi Umar-led three –man of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) tribunal to testify in the ongoing trial of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen.
Onnoghen is facing trial over his alleged failure to declare his assets.
Testifying on Thursday, Mr Awal Yakassai, a retired Director at the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB,told the tribunal, the suspended CJN owned only five houses, and not 55 as erroneously claimed by a section of the media, adding, “It was not true that CCB investigators linked the ownership of 55 houses to the defendant.”
The disclosure came after the witness was shown copies of Justice Onnoghen’s asset declaration forms, which the Federal Government tendered in evidence before the CCT.
The suspendede CJN was said to have submitted the forms marked as Exhibit 2 and 3, to the CCB in 2014 and 2015.
While fielding questions under cross-examination, the PW-2, told the tribunal that he served at the CCB for 29 years before he retired in April 2018.
He added that the CCB was yet to verify Justice Onnoghen’s assets with a view to finding out if he made false declarations.
Holding the two documents while being questioned by Onnoghen’s lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, the witness said: “My lord, according to exhibit 2 and 3, the defendant has only five buildings and not 55”.
Awomolo noted that one of the five buildings was given to the defendant by the federal government itself.
The witness testified further that the verification columns on Onnoghen’s two asset declaration forms were still empty.
He said: “As indicated here, the column for verified assets have not been signed as at today” he added, saying it was standard practice at the CCB that returned asset declaration forms must pass through three stages of verification.
“My lord we have three stages of verification, the first is at the time of submission of forms, the second is what we called conference verification whereby we invite the person. And the third is physical verification of the assets.
“Until these three stages are completed, we cannot say that the assets have been verified”.
Recalled that the CCT boss had giving prosecution lawyer, Aliyu Umar, the go ahead to call a second witness to give evidence against the suspended CJN who is answering to a six-count charge for alleged non-declarationof asset and for operating five foreign bank accounts, contrary to section 15(2) of Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.
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