First Defence Witness Tenders Receipt for Onnoghen’s 2010 Assets Declaration, Prosecution Kicks
The suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, on Monday, called his driver, Mr. Lawal Busari, as his first defence witness in his trial on charges of false and non-declaration of assets ongoing before the Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja.
Busari, who was led by Onnoghen’s Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), described how he drove the suspended CJN to the office of the Code of Conduct Bureau, on July 28, 2010, to obtain the assets declaration form.
He said he paid the sum of N200 for Onnoghen’s assets declaration on November 3, 2010.
Awomolo sought to tender the receipt as an exhibit but the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Aliyu Umar (SAN), objected to the admissibility of the document.
Saying the “Revenue Number” did not appear on the receipt, Umar said, “The authenticity of the receipt is in doubt”.
Umar also added that Busari, not being the maker of the document, was not the right person to tender it.
The defence, by the testimony of the witness, sought to puncture the prosecution’s charge that the suspended CJN did not declare his assets from 2005 and 2016.
The 60-year-old witness, who described himself as the Chief Driver/Mechanic at the Supreme Court, said on Monday that while with Onnoghen at the CCB office on July 28, 2010, the suspended CJN also asked him to obtain his own assets declaration form.
He said he also obtained his form.
He said, “On getting there (CCB office), he (Onnoghen), collected assets declaration form.
“After he was given the form, he said, ‘Alhaji are you not going to collect your own?’ He said, ‘collect it’.
“We got back to the office, I filled my own.
“On November 3, 2010, My lordship gave me N200 to pay into the treasury account for the assets declaration form.
“I collected the receipt from the cashier and I gave the receipt back to my lord.
“On November 4, 2010, I did mine too by paying the sum of N200 to the cashier.”
The CCT overruled the prosecution and admitted the receipt as an exhibit.
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