The suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, has asked the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar, to disqualify himself from further participating in the hearing of his case over non-declaration of assets.
Justice Onnoghen accused the CCT chairman of constructively convicting him of wrongdoing even before his arraignment, adding that being faced with N10m bribery charge from the EFCC also, the judge could trade his conviction for plea bargain.
Lawyers to the CJN Chris Uche (SAN), Chief Sebastine Hon (SAN), Okon Efut (SAN), Chief Ogwu Onoja (SAN), Noah Abdul and George Ibrahim, filed the application at CCT on Monday.
He argued that Umar wrote and signed the ex parte order directing him, being an unconvicted man, to step aside as CJN on account of a charge not yet before him which is in itself a conviction prior to arraignment and plea/trial.
Acting on the ex parte order of January 23, President Muhammad Buhari on January 25 suspended Justice Onnoghen and swore-in Justice Tanko Mohammad as Acting CJN, and application which Onnoghen said was not moved by any known prosecutor bearing the same title, charge number and purported accused person/defendant which substantially predetermined the guilt of the defendant without an arraignment.
“Consequent upon paragraphs IV above, the learned chairman (Hon. Danladi Umar) who purportedly moved, made and signed the order has put himself in the position of the prosecutor, judge and jury to the clear prejudice and bias against the Defendant,” he averred.
“The learned chairman of the CCT is a tainted arbiter by reason of a criminal charge at the instance of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for receiving money bribe in the sum of N10m in charge No: CR/109/18 in FCT High Court by an organ under the supervision of the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, incidentally the prosecutor and complainant in this matter, such that with such sword of Damocles hanging over him, and himself not likely to be a fair arbiter, but instead more likely to trade in the charges against him in quasi plea bargaining in the charge against him and enter summary conviction in this proceedings to please the prosecutor.”