ABUJA NIGERIA. The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) in Abuja has slammed corruption charges against the Chief Justice of Nigeria at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, court documents showed. Mr Justice Walter Onnoghen became the Chief Justice in March 2017, less than six months after the homes of several federal judges, including those of the Supreme Court, were searched in an anti-corruption raid.
On January 10, the APC led Nigerian government filed charges against the head of the country’s judicial arm, accusing him of asset declaration offences.
The government said it was only in 2016 after the controversial crackdown on judges that Mr Onnoghen partially declared his asset, but still failed to declare a series of bank accounts, denominated in local and foreign currencies, linked to him at a Standard Chartered Bank branch in Abuja.
The government consequently filed six charges of non and fraudulent declaration of assets by Mr Onnoghen, with trial expected to commence on January 14 at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
The CCT said in a separate statement Saturday afternoon that trial would commence on Monday at the premises of the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Jabi, commercial neighbourhood in Abuja.
A spokesperson for the Supreme Court did not immediately return requests for comments Saturday afternoon.
The trial could further strain relations between the Judicial and the Executive arms of the Federal Government, which had been largely tense since the raid on federal judges’s homes in October 2016.
The Charges Appeared To Have Been Triggered By A Group.
The group, the Anti-corruption and Research based Data Initiative, had sent the petition against the CJN to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
PETITION ON SUSPECTED FINANCIAL CRIMES AND BREACHES OF THE CODE OF CONDUCT BUREAU REQUIREMENTS AGAINST HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE W. S. NKANU ONNOGHEN, GCON, THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF NIGERIA
We write to bring to your attention serious concerns bothering on flagrant violations of the law and the Constitution of Nigeria by the Honourable Mr. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
Specifically, we are distressed that facts on the ground indicate the leader of our country’s judicial branch is embroiled in suspected financial crimes and breaches of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.
The particulars of our findings indicate that:
His Lordship Justice Walter Onnoghen is the owner of 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.
False declaration of asset, and in particular, concealment of significant and declarable assets in the form of sundry bank accounts and the balances therein, contrary to section 15 of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act.
more details soon…..