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Nigeria’s Chief Justice Onnoghen To Face Corruption, Assets Declaration Charges

Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen
Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen

The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) has filed corruption-related charges against Justice Walter Onnoghen at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

The charges were based on fraudulent declaration of assets, and the trial is set to begin on January 14, 2019.

According to a statement by the CCT, the trial would take place at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The statement read: “Service of summons has been effected to the defendant. The three-man panel led by Justice Danladi Y. Umar, will commence the trial on Monday, 14th January, 2019 at its courtroom, situated at the headquarters, along Jabi Daki biyu, Saloman Lar way, Abuja, at about 10:00am.

“The application was filed yesterday by the operatives of CCB, dated 11st January, 2019 and signed by Musa Ibrahim Usman (Esq) and Fatima Danjuma Ali (Esq), containing 6 count charges all bothers on non declaration of asset.”

The six-count charge document, dated January 10, 2019 and signed on Janauary 11, 2019, listed offences against the judge, among which were his “failure to declare and submit a written declaration of all your assets and liabilities within the prescribed period of three (3) months after being sworn in as the justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria on the 8th day of June 2005 and you hereby contravened the provisions of section 15(1) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act Cap c15 LFN 2004 and punishable under section 23(2) a, b and c of the same Act”.

Onnoghen was also accused of failing to declare domiciliary US Dollar account, a domiciliary Euro account, a domiciliary (Pound Sterling) account, an e-saver savings (Naira) account and a Naira account, all maintained with Standard Chartered Bank (Nig.) Ltd in Abuja.

A civil society group, the Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative (ARDI), had petitioned the CCB, in a document dated January 7, 2019, accusing Onnoghen of owning “sundry accounts primarily funded through cash deposits made by himself up to as recently as 10th August 2016 which appear to have been run in a manner inconsistent with financial transparency and the code of conduct for public officials”.

According to the petition, Onnoghen was alleged to have made five different cash deposits of $10,000 each on March 8, 2011, into Standard Chartered Bank Account 1062650; two separate cash deposits of $5000 each followed by four cash deposits of $10,000 each on June 7, 2011; another set of five separate cash deposits of $10,000 each on June 27, 2011, and four more cash deposits of $10,000 each the following day.

Onnoghen was also accused of not declaring his assets immediately after taking office, contrary to section 15 (1) of Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, as well as not complying with with the constitutional requirements for public servants to declare their assets every four years during their career.

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SaharaReporters, New York

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