The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen (JSC) has been accused of infractions relating to his asset declaration and may be prosecuted before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, according to emerging reports in the media.

Earlier on Saturday, a petition written by a civil society group, Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative (ARDI) to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) surfaced in the media.

In the petition, ARDI accused Justice Onnoghen of being “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”.

ARDI further accused Nigeria’s Chief Justice of making 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.

The civil society group also claimed that Justice Onnoghen did not declare his assets immediately after taking office, contrary to section 15 (1) of Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act; and that he did not comply with the constitutional requirement for public servants to declare their assets every four years during their career.

Further reports emerged later on Saturday that the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) had made plans to commence trial of the CJN on charges of non-declaration before the Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja on Monday.

CCT headquarters in Abuja on Saturday confirmed the development in a statement signed by its Head, Press & Public Relations, Mr. Ibraheem Al-Hassan.

According to Al-Hassan, the three-man panel of the tribunal led by Danladi Umar, has fixed Monday for the arraignment of Nigeria’s number one judge, following an application by the Code of Conduct Bureau for leave to commence the case.

He said the application was filed on Friday and summons for the Monday’s proceedings had been served on the CJN.

All the six counts preferred against the CJN are said to be bordering on non-declaration of assets.

The CCT’s statement read in part, “The Code of Conduct Tribunal has scheduled Monday, January 14, 2019 for the commencement of trial against current Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon Justce Onnoghen Nkanu Walter Samuel for alleged non-declaration of assets.

“This was consequent to an application filed by the Code of Conduct Bureau to the CCT Chairman yesterday (Friday) for the trial to commence against the Chief Justice of Nigeria on six charges.

“However, 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, January 14, 2019 at its courtroom, situated at the headquarter, along Jabi Daki biyu, Saloman Lar way, Abuja, at  10:00am.

“The application was filed yesterday by the operatives of CCB, dated January 11, 2019 and signed by Musa Ibrahim Usman (Esq) and Fatima Danjuma Ali (Esq), containing six charges all bordering on non-declaration of assets,” Al-Hassan said in the statement which was included in a report published by the Punch.

It remains to be seen whether or not Nigeria’s Chief Justice will be available for arraignment at the Code of Conduct Tribunal on Monday.

We will provide further updates as they become available.

You can download the charges filed by the CCB against the CJN here


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