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JUST IN: Tribunal Adjourns CJN Onnoghen’s Case Till January 22

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The Danladi Umar-led three-man Code of Conduct Tribunal on Monday adjourned proceedings involving the charges of non-declaration of assets preferred against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, till January 22.

Umar ruled that the tribunal would hear Onnoghen’s motion challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal at the next proceedings.

The tribunal adjourned the case after the lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Aliyu Umar (SAN), conceded that Onnoghen was improperly served with the charges and the summons.

Umar conceded that the CJN was not personally served with the charges and the court’s summons, as required by the law.

He, therefore, requested the three-man tribunal led by Danladi Umar to direct a fresh service on the CJN.

Onnoghen was absent from the Monday’s proceedings.

Upon an inquiry by the tribunal chairman about Onnoghen’s absence from court, the defence team led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), said the CJN needed not to be present, having filed a motion to challenge the tribunal’s jurisdiction.

Olanipekun said he and other defence lawyers only appeared in court in protest against the jurisdiction of the tribunal.

He also said that, from the account given by the court official earlier in the proceedings, the CJN was not served with the charges and and summons personally, but through his aide.

Olanipekun insisted that the law requires that the defendant be served personally.

But the prosecuting lawyer said the law only requires the defendant to be aware of the pending charges, and that it was the CJN’s choice to ask his aide to receive the charges and summons on his behalf.

But after a back-and-forth argument that went on for about 45 minutes, the prosecuting counsel conceded that the service of the charges and the summons ought to have been personally served on Onnoghen.

“By what the registrar has said, although the defendant was the one who directed his personal assistant to accept service on his behalf and what the law says is that he must be personally served.

“We agree that that the service should be properly done. The processes should be served personally on him.

“If, after the service is done, and the defendant is not present, we can then argue whether or not he needs to be present on the grounds that he has filed a motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court.”

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BREAKING: Buhari Fails To Renew Fowler’s Tenure, Names Muhammad Nami As New FIRS Boss

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President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Muhammad Nami to replace Babatunde Fowler as chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

Fowler’s tenure expired on Monday.

More to follow…

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Orji Kalu Will Receive Full Salaries, Allowances In Prison — Senate

Peter Okunoren

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The convicted Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Kalu, will continue to receive his salaries and all other entitlements while in prison, the Senate has said.

This is despite that he will not be performing any legislative function from prison.

The spokesperson of the Senate, Godiya Akwashiki, disclosed this to PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday.

He said despite the conviction, Mr Kalu remains a sitting senator and will be paid all of his entitlements in full.

He said until the case gets to Supreme Court and a final judgement is given, Mr Kalu remains a serving lawmaker.

“He is still a senator. This is the first court. The matter is going to Supreme Court so, he still has the opportunity to appeal up to the Supreme Court level.

“Of course they will pay him. Because he is a sitting senator just like I said…if you file for an appeal, you are still serving and so they will pay you.

“All his entitlements will be paid. There is no cause for alarm. In fact, even if the Court of Appeal says they have upheld the judgement of the lower court, he still has the right to go to Supreme Court. So once the Supreme Court says, yes, the judgement is okay, then that’s the final,” he explained.

Earlier, Mr Akwashiki said Mr Kalu’s seat will not be declared vacant.

He explained that no provision in the constitution that says the seat of any senator facing prosecution or convicted at a lower court should be declared vacant.

Mr Kalu’s seat will not be declared vacant except he (Mr Kalu) has explored all the legal options available to him without success, he said.

“Even the tenure of a former governor Joshua Dariye, who has been in prison for some time now, ran its course until the end of the 8th National Assembly. Nobody declared his seat vacant.”

The Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday sentenced Mr Kalu to 12 years in prison after convicting him of N7.65 billion fraud.

Mr Kalu, a former governor of Abia State, was pronounced guilty of the charge in a trial that lasted for 12 years.

The conviction comes 12 years after the ex-governor was first arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2007 and was tried alongside his company, Slok Nigeria Limited, and Udeh Udeogu, who was Director of Finance and Accounts at the Abia State Government House during Mr Kalu’s tenure as governor.

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BREAKING: Assassins Attacks MD Of Maersk Line, Wife Forced To Drink Acid

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Palpable tension has enveloped Maersk, one of the biggest organizations in the Nigerian maritime industry.

According to reports, the Managing Director of Maersk Line, Gildas Tohouo Tohouo, and his family were said to have been attacked at their Lugard Road, Ikoyi home last night.

The attacked happened while he, his three children and his wife were at home.

While reports are saying that the man himself was severely stabbed and battling for his life, the wife is said to have given up the ghost as she was forced to drink acid by their assailants.

Several angles are being linked to the unfortunate incident. While some are saying the attack must have been as a result of a generator contract gone wrong between Maersk and some other unnamed companies, some are saying the attack was as a result of domestic electrician that was sacked.

Those in the know are claiming that Maersk as an organization is not new to attacks as such that results in the loss of lives. A source who craved anonymity claims that the company once sent two Dutch auditors to look into its books and both men were shot dead by assassins in a full office.

The attack on the managing director and his family is being suspected to be an insider job by some other people because the security around where he lives is premium and he lives close to former interim head of state, Chief Ernest Shonekan, whose place also enjoys excellent security because of his status as a former head of state.

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