Justice Walter Onnoghen, the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, will be arrested any moment from now, anywhere he’s found in Nigeria following the order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal handling his case.
Head of CCT Danladi Umar ordered both the Inspector-General of Police and other security agencies to arrest and produce the embattled justice.
Delivering a ruling of the three-man tribunal, the Chairman of the CCT, Danladi Umar, ordered the security agencies to produce Onnoghen at the tribunal on Friday.
He dismissed the objection raised to the application for the issuance of the arrest warrant and ordered that “I want to see the defendant in the dock on Friday”.
The CCT had made the order following an application by the lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Aliyu Umar (SAN), who said the consistent absence of the CJN from the CCT was a violation of provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
Umar, who anchored his application for Onnothghen’s arrest on section 6(1) of the Practice Direction of the CCT, also opposed the call on the three-man tribunal by the lead defence counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), to hear all pending applications.
Umar maintained that by virtue of section 396(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 no objections could be raised by the defendant until he took his plea.
The prosecuting counsel said Onnoghen having not taken his plea, the objection by him could not be heard.
The trouble with Onnoghen started when it was discovered that he failed to declare his entire assets as stipulated by law.
To give specific examples, here are some instances of cash deposits by Justice Onnoghen:
Justice Onnoghen made five different cash deposits of $10,000 each on 8th March 2011 into Standard Chartered Bank Account 1062650;
On 7th June 2011, two separate cash deposits of $5000 each were made by Justice Walter Onnoghen, followed by four cash deposits of $10,000 each;
On 27th June 2011, Justice Onnoghen made another set of five separate cash deposits of $10,000 each and made four more cash deposits of $10,000 each on the following day, 28th June 2011;
Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen did not declare his assets immediately after taking office, contrary to Section 15 (1) of Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act;
Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen did not comply with the constitutional requirement for public servants to declare their assets every four years during their career;
The Code of Conduct Bureau Forms (Form CCB 1) of Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen for 2014 and 2016 were dated and filed on the same day. The acknowledgement slip for Declarant SCN: 000014 was issued on 14th December 2016. The acknowledgement slip for Declarant SCN: 000015 was also issued on 14th December 2016, at which point Justice Onnoghen had become the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
The affidavit for SCN: 000014 was sworn to on 14th December 2016;
The affidavit for SCN: 000015 was sworn to on 14th December 2016;
Both forms were received on 14th December 2016 by one Awwal Usman Yakasai.
The discrepancy between Justice Walter Onnoghen’s two CCB forms that were filed on the same day is significant.
In filling the section on Details of Assets, particularly Cash, in Nigerian Banks, His Lordship as Declarant SCN: 000014 mentioned only two bank accounts:
Union Bank account number 0021464934 in Abuja, with balance of N9,536,407, as at 14th November 2014.
Union Bank account number 0012783291 in Calabar, with balance of N11, 456,311 as at 14th November 2014.
The sources of the funds in these accounts are stated as salaries, estacodes and allowances.
As Declarant SCN: 000015 His Lordship however lists seven bank accounts:
Standard Chartered account 00001062667, with balance of N3,221,807.05 as at 14th November 2016.
Standard Chartered account 00001062650, with balance of $164,804.82, as at 14th November 2016.
Standard Chartered account 5001062686, with balance of EUROS 55,154.56, as at 14th November 2016.
Standard Chartered Bank account 5001062679 with balance of GBP108,352.2, as at 14th November 2016.
Standard Chartered Bank account 5001062693 with balance of N8,131,195.27, as at 14th November 2016.
Union Bank account 00021464934 with balance of N23,261,568.89, as at 14th November 2016.
Union Bank account 0012783291 with balance of N14,695,029.12, as at 14th November 2016.
The foreign currency Standard Chartered Bank accounts that were declared by Declarant SCN: 000015 have been in existence since at least 2011.
Prior to 2016, His Lordship appears to have suppressed or otherwise concealed the existence of these multiple domiciliary accounts owned by him, as well as the substantial cash balances in them.
The Standard Chartered Bank dollar account 1062650 had a balance of $391,401.28 on 31st January 2011;
The Standard Chartered Bank Euro account 5001062686 had a balance of EURO 49,971.71 on 31st January 2011;
The Standard Chartered Bank pound sterling account 5001062679 had a balance of GBP23,409.66 on 28th February 2011.
It is curious that these domiciliary accounts were not declared in one of the two CCB Forms filed by Justice Onnoghen on the same day, 14th December 2016.
The Naira bank accounts in b (i) and b (v) above are also omitted in the CCB form of Declarant SCN: 000014.
It is our humble view that, with the foregoing, we have laid before you facts which support the assertion that Justice Walter Onnoghen may have committed a breach of the provisions of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act as follows:
Non-declaration of assets immediately after taking office in several capacities prior to becoming the Chief Justice of Nigeria contrary to section 15 of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act;
Non-declaration of assets immediately after taking office as the Chief Justice of Nigeria contrary to section 15 of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act;
55Non-declaration of assets at the statutory intervals after taking office throughout his career as a federal judicial officer contrary to section 15 of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act;
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.
Reactions as Davido tops Forbes 100 icons Africa list
Social media users have reacted to the award-winning singer, Davido topping Forbes 100 Innovations, Inventions, and Icons Africa list. The...
DSTV announces procedures for BBNaija season 6 audition
Organisers of Big Brother Naija, BBNaija have announced that auditions will soon begin for season six of the Big Brother...
Burna Boy Stands Tall At Grammys, Wins ‘Best Global Album’ Award
Nigerian superstar, Damini Ogulu, better known as Burna Boy, has won Best Global Music Album at the 2021 Grammy awards....
Nollywood Actor, Lateef Adedimeji, Woos American Based Singer, Jemiriye Adeniji *tale trails his romance with Bimpe Oyebade
The latest romance story is coming on the heels of Adedimeji’s alleged romance with an America based Yoruba actress, Oyinkansola...
Hushpuppi hires former government lawyer as defence counsel
Ramon Abass also known as Hushpuppi has hired a top-rated criminal defence lawyer, Loius Shapiro to represent him in his trial in...