The Court of Appeal has dismissed the appeal filed by Justice Walter Onnoghen, challenging the exparte order granted by the CCT that led to his suspension.
In an undivided judgment of its three-man bench led by Justice Stephen Adah, the Court of Appeal, agreed that the CCT’s ex parte order breached the ex-CJN’s right to fair hearing.
It however noted that the case had been overtaken by events.
In the lead judgment, Justice Adah, noted that the court proceedings ought not to be conducted “in a shady or clandestine maneuver” in which the ex parte order was obtained by the prosecution.
He, however, struck out the matter on the grounds that the substantive matter had been concluded by the CCT, which ended in the ex-CJN’s conviction on charges of false and non-declaration of assets.
Recall that Onnoghen had approached the appeal court with various requests to challenge the decisions of the Code of Conduct Tribunal that convicted him for false asset charges.
Among his requests, he appealed against the decision of the tribunal chairman, Danladi Umar, who refused to recuse himself from the matter after Mr Onnoghen’s lawyers accused him of bias.
Onnoghen also contested the legality of his trial and asked the appellate court to stop the tribunal from attempting to arrest him during the trial.
He also challenged the tribunal’s order that he be suspended from office, an order President Muhammadu Buhari relied on to suspend the chief justice.
Recall that the former CJN who was suspended in January following the allegations has been ordered away from the office by the tribunal which invoked section 23 of the constitution against him.
The section deals with the three major penalties meted upon a person found guilty of violating the CCB act.
Onnoghen had notified President Buhari of his intention to retire in March after the National Judicial Council requested his compulsory retirement in April.