The Federal Government has instituted a lawsuit against Justice Walter Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
The country’s top jurist is been charged before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for failing to declare his assets and operating a domiciliary account, among other charges.
Ibrahim Alhassan, the spokesperson for the CCT, confirmed that the charges were served on the Chief Justice on Friday.
The Chief Justice was charged after a petition was written against him by the Anti-Corruption and Research-Based Data Initiative, a non-governmental organisation.
The group’s petition partly read: “We hereby petition you on suspected 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 petition you based on the alarming facts detailed below, all of which indicate that the leader of our country’s judicial branch is embroiled in suspected official corruption, 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.
“These appear to have been run in a manner inconsistent with financial transparency and the code of conduct for public officials.’’
According to the charge sheet, he failed to declare three domiciliary accounts he currently operates when he was appointed to the position of CJN.
Usman Mohammed, an investigator attached to the CCT, in a statement attached to the charge sheet said all the accounts are active and bore the name of the Supreme Court judge.
“That the respondent (Onnoghen) also operates three domiciliary and two naira accounts with Standard Chartered Bank Limited with the following particulars.
“Domiciliary account number: 870001062650 bearing the name Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen.
“Domiciliary account number: 9300106268bearing the name Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen
“Domiciliary account number: 285001062679 bearing the name Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen
“Domiciliary account number: 5001062683 bearing the name Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen
“Domiciliary account number: 0100010626667 bearing the name Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen,” the statement of the witness partly read.
Mohammed also noted that Justice Onnoghen failed to declare his assets since he was elevated as a Justice of the Supreme Court in 2005 until the recommendation as CJN by the National Judicial Council and his subsequent appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016.
The statement read: “That in 2016 declarations, the five domiciliary accounts were omitted. We proceeded to request the account details from Standard Chartered Bank Limited.
“The bank undertook to provide us with the opening form and provided us with statements of accounts.
“Investigations have been concluded and the facts revealed indict the defendant and consequently the file has been forwarded to the department of legal services for further necessary action.”
Alhassan stated that the country’s top jurist is expected to be arraigned on Monday.