Two Prosecution Witnesses Testify In Onnoghen’s Trial At CCT

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A former director in charge of political office at the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Mr Awal Yakassi, has given his testimony in the alleged non-declaration of asset case against the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen.

Mr Yakassi testified on behalf of the Federal Government as the second prosecution witness on Thursday during the resumed trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT). He told the Tribunal that he was the one who attended to Justice Onnoghen when he submitted two of his asset declaration forms in December 2016. The witness said he received the forms and signed on them and provided the judge’s representative with two acknowledgement slips for receiving the forms.

Under cross-examinations, he noted that he was not served any subpoena to appear before the Tribunal. When asked if he was at the Tribunal giving evidence as an officer of the CCB, Yakassi said he was giving evidence as a person who worked in that office in the past since he has retired. He gave an affirmative response to a question as to whether he was a member of the management of CCB as a director in the bureau up until his retirement.

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He also responded in the same manner when asked if as a member of the management of the CCB, he took instruction from the chairman and other members. When asked if he has never heard about Code of Conduct Standards Operating Procedures, the witness, however, refused to answer and asked the lawyer how many he has heard. At this point, counsel to Justice Onnoghen asked the Tribunal for protection but the CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar, said he was there to protect everybody, but the counsel should not harass the witness. The counsel consequently asked again, and the witness said he has heard about the rule. Asked if he knew that the commencement date of that rule was January 27, 2017, the witness said no. Yakassi was, thereafter, as how many staff he had under his department and their ranks.

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He said he has left the service and cannot recall. When asked how many years he spent at the CCB, the witness said 29 years. The witness told the Tribunal that he cannot recall how many judicial officers were given asset declaration forms while he was in service. He also said he does not know if any member of the public can have access to anybody’s asset declaration form, or if it was only the chairman that can approve such. Yakassi was then handed exhibit one which was the petition written against Justice Onnoghen. He, however, said he had no knowledge of it. Asked if he was shown the petition on January 11, 2019, when he made a statement to the investigative officer of the bureau, he gave a negative response.

The witness also said he was not shown the originals of exhibit 2 and 3, but his counsel said he should be shown. The documents were subsequently shown to him and the witness said it was only the photocopies that were shown to him. He told the Tribunal that he had no knowledge of the organization that wrote the petition. Thereafter, the third prosecution witness, Ifeoma Okagbue, who is a banker with Standard Charted Bank, opened her testimony.

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She told the Tribunal that her duties include offering financial services to high net worth clients, as well as new business development, growing and deepening priority affluent base, and offering investment advice and wealth management solutions. Okagbue was then shown exhibit 5 which were bank statements and bank opening documents belonging to Justice Onnoghen after which she was asked if they were the ones given to CCB by her bank. She answered in the affirmative and informed the Tribunal that the documents belonged to him. The witness told the court that the accounts were opened in June 2009 and April 2010.

Source : channelstv

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