Suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, yesterday entered his defense as he brought in the first defence witness to court.
Defense counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), led in evidence one Lawal Busari, who is Justice Onnoghen’s driver.
In his evidence, Busari told the court how he drove Onnoghen to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) Office on July 28, 2010, to obtain an assets’ declaration form, saying he paid N200 fee for Onnoghen’s form on November 3, 2010.
Busari, who told the court that he was a chief driver and mechanic with the Supreme Court, added that while he was still with Justice Onnoghen at the CCB, he (Onnoghen) asked him to also get his own assets declaration form.
He explained that he obtained his form as directed, adding: “When we got back to the office, I filled my own form and on November 3, 2010, my Lordship gave me N200 to pay into the treasury account for the form.
“I collected the receipt from the cashier and I gave the receipt back to my lord and on November 4, 2010, I did mine by paying N200 to the cashier.”
The testimony of the 60-year old witness aimed at countering the prosecution’s charge that Justice Onnoghen did not declare his assets between 2005 and 2016 in line with public office law.
But when Awomolo sought to tender the receipt as exhibit, the prosecution counsel, Aliyu Umar (SAN), objected to its admissibility.
He hinged his objection on the fact that the ‘Revenue number’ was not on the receipt, insisting that its authenticity was doubtful, and that Busari, not being the originator of the document, was not the right person to tender it in court.
The prosecution was, however, overruled and the receipt admitted as an exhibit, after which the tribunal adjourned the matter till Wednesday.