CJN Onnoghen In Dock For Operating Secret Domiciliary Accounts
The Chief Justice of Nigeria [CJN], Justice Walter Onnoghen will, on Monday, face trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal [CCT] over irregularities in declaring his assets.
A lawyer and investigator attached to the Code of Conduct Bureau, Barrister Usman Mohammed disclosed this in a statement.
According to Barrister Mohammed, CJN Onnoghen allegedly operates three domiciliary and two naira accounts with Standard Chartered Bank Limited.
He said that the Chief Justice failed to declare his dollar, pounds and euro accounts when he was elevated to the Supreme Court.
Trouble began when a Non-Governmental Organisation [NGO], Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative, wrote a petition against the CJN.
The NGO alleged that Onnoghen “operates three domiciliary and two naira accounts with Standard Chartered Bank Limited with the following particulars:
“Domiciliary account number: 870001062650 bearing the name Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen.
“Domiciliary account number: 9300106268bearing the name Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen
“Domiciliary account number: 285001062679 bearing the name Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen
“Domiciliary account number: 5001062683 bearing the name Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen
“Domiciliary account number: 0100010626667 bearing the name Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen.”
Onnoghen’s statement was attached to the charge sheet.
The investigator said investigations revealed that since 2005 when Onnoghen was appointed as a Justice of the Supreme Court, he did not declare his assets until 2016 when he was appointed as the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
The statement added: “That in 2016 declarations, the five domiciliary accounts were omitted. We proceeded to request the account details from Standard Chartered Bank Limited.
“The bank undertook to provide us with the opening form and provided us with statements of accounts.
“Investigations have been concluded and the facts revealed indict the defendant and consequently the file has been forwarded to the department of legal services for further necessary action.”
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the embattled CJN to be replaced by Justice Tanko Ibrahim Mohammed.
It could be recalled that it was reported in 2017 that the Federal Government was investigating the CJN for alleged corruption.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC], however, denied the report saying that Onnoghen was not under probe.
An legal analyst with ElombahNews, who spoke on condition of anonymity, faulted the procedure that led to the indictment of CJN Onnoghen.
He cited a CCT case held, in the case of Justice Ngwuta versus Federal Government, that a Supreme Court justice cannot be tried unless he has first been reported to, investigated by and stripped of office by the Nigeria Judicial Council [NJC].