Assets declaration: CCT faults FG’s charge against Sen. Nwaoboshi

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The Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Danladi Umar has directed that the charge against Senator Peter Nwaoboshi and other processes filed along with it be returned to the Federal Ministry of Justice.

CCT’s spokesman, Ibraheem Zakariya said Danladi’s directive, which was complied with on Monday, was informed by errors noticed on the charge, by the Registry of the tribunal.

In a statement on Tuesday, Zakariya said “The Code of Conduct Tribunal yesterday returned back to the Federal Ministry of Justice an application to commence trial against a Senator named Peter Nwaoboshi for substantial non-compliance with the Tribunal’s Practice Direction 2017.”

Zakariya said the clarification about the status of the case became necessary because information about the existence of the case became public before the Registry of the CCT could take a decision on the case.

Part of the statement reads: “However, the letter conveying the request to Federal Ministry of Justice, was captioned: ‘Re: CCT /ABJ/02/19 FRN V Senator Peter Nwaoboshi,’ dated 20th June, 2019, and attentioned to S. M. Labaran.

“The letter reads: ‘Please, recall that you filed an application to commence trial in the above-named suit on the 17th of June, 2019.

‘I am however directed by the Hon. Chairman of Code of Conduct Tribunal to return the application filed due to the following:-

‘Non-compliance with paragraph 3 (2) (i) (iii) and (iv) of the Code of Conduct Tribunal Practice Direction 2017 in that:-

*No name of witness(s) is listed on the application; the CCB staff so stated without given a name and address is vague.

*Since accounts are involved, a Sterling Bank Official ought to be listed as witness with attached statement of witness(s).’

“These are some of the defects, along with others not mentioned.

“We crave the indulgence of media operatives not to use any matter before the tribunal from anybody outside it, in order to avoid this kind of mishaps of our procedures,” Zakariya said.

The Federal Government, acting through the Director of Public Prosecution, Federal Ministry of Justice, last week, filed a three-count charge against Senator Nwaoboshi before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), in which he is accused of making false assets declaration.

Nwaoboshi is of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) representing Delta North Senatorial District.

Nwaoboshi is accused of making false assets declaration in his Form CCB1 submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau by failing to declare three bank accounts he was said to have been maintaining with Sterling Bank (Nigeria) Ltd since 2015.

By his alleged conduct, Nwaoboshi is said to have breached Section 15(1) and (2) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act and punishable under section 23(2) of the same Act.

The Nwaoboshi case is one of the cases recently transferred by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel (SPIP) for the recovery of public property, to the Director of Public Prosecution for prosecution.

The charge reads: “That you, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi adult, male, Nigerian citizen and a serving Senator representing Delta North constituency within the jurisdiction of this Tribunal did make false declaration in your asset declaration Form CCB 1 No: SEN001098 in that you refused to declare Account No: 0008600331 maintained by you with Sterling Bank (Nigeria) Ltd which is in operation since about 2015 and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (1) and (2) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act Cap 015 LFN 2004 and punishable under Section 23 (2) of Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act Cap 015 LFN 2004.

“That you, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi adult, male, Nigerian Citizen and a serving Senator representing Delta North Constituency within the jurisdiction of this Tribunal did make false declaration in your asset declaration Form CCB 1 No: SEN001098 in that you refused to declare Account No: 0006493689 maintained by you with sterling Bank (Nigeria) Ltd which is in operation since about 2015 and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (1) and (2) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act Cap 015 LFN 2004 and punishable under Section 23 (2) (c) of Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act Cap 015 LFN 2004.

“That you, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi adult, male, Nigerian citizen and a sewing Senator representing Delta North constituency within the jurisdiction of this Tribunal did make false declaration in your asset declaration Form CCB 1 No: SEN001098 in that you refused to declare Account No: 000997287 maintained by you with Sterling Bank (Nigeria) Ltd which is in operation since about 2015 and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (1) and (2) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act Cap 015 LFN 2004 and punishable under Section 23 (2) (c) of Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act Cap 015 LFN 2004.”

The prosecution also attached to the charge, a document titled: “an application to commence trial,” in which it sought to be allocated a date for the commencement of the case.

Also attached to the charge was the summary of the prosecution’s case. It reads, “It is the prosecution’s case that the defendant, a serving senator was investigated and found to have falsely declared his assets in his assets declaration Form CCB1 No. SEN001098.

“The prosecution, in this case, shall rely on the exhibits and testimonies of witnesses to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.”

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