Asset declaration: Walter Onnoghen found guilty, removed as CJN

Walter Onnoghen
Walter Onnoghen

To forfeit N26.8 million, $56,000

The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on Thursday ordered the removal of Justice Walter Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and also barred him from holding public office for ten years for contravening the Code of Conduct Bureau laws in asset declaration for public officers.

Onnoghen will in addition forfeit to the federal government various sums of money found in his five bank accounts with the Standard Chartered Bank which he was said to have failed to declare.

Delivering judgement in a six count false asset declaration and non assets declaration brought against Onnoghen, Chairman of the Tribunal, Danlado Yakubu Umar held that the admission by Onnoghen that he forgot to declare the bank accounts in the form CCB001 was a clear contravention if Section 23 of the CCB and CCT Act.

Umar held that the prosecution through the witnesses and exhibits tendered and admitted established beyond reasonable doubt that the convicted CJN was in grave error by his failure to declare the bank accounts as required by law.

By the pronouncement of the Tribunal, Onnoghen us to forfeit to the federal government a sum of N26.8 million, $137, 700 and 13, 730 pounds sterling in his domiciliary account with the Standard Chattered Bank accounts which were said to have been maintained since 2009.

Umar, in the unanimous judgment said that the Tribunal ordered the forfeiture of the various currencies in the accounts because Onnoghen for not disclose the source of the money through out the trial.

The federal government had, in January 10, 2019 filed a six-count charge bordering on false declaration of assets against Onnoghen and called three witnesses to establish its case against the convicted defendants.

Umar, in the judgment over ruled the claim of Onnoghen that he could not be tried by the Tribunal on the account of his being a serving judicial officer, who’s misconduct, if any can only be investigated by the National Judicial Council (NJC) and also has the power to net any punishment on him.

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