The trial of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, which was been on at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for the past three month came to an end today with mixed reactions filling the atmosphere.
Onnoghen, appeared in court for the final judgment which was scheduled for today by the Danladi Umar-led panel in high spirits.
The embattled CJN sat in the front row before the commencement of the trial proceedings today and smiled as numerous photojournalists beamed their cameras on him.
However, when he noticed a particular journalist was bending down while taking his shots, Onnoghen jokingly asked him: “I hope you are not taking my pants.”
It was a remark that sent many in the court into fits of laughter before a policeman came to drive the journalists away.
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In the final judgment, the CCT found him guilty of false declaration of assets in breach of the provisions of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) for public officials.
The three-man panel chaired by Danladi Umar said the prosecution proved Onnoghen’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
Therefore, it convicted him and removed him from office as Chief Justice of Nigeria, as Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC), and as Chairman of the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC).
It also said Onnoghen is to forfeit the money in his five bank domiciliary accounts that were not declared to the Nigerian Government because they were acquired illegally, and barred him from holding public office for the next 10 years.
It would be recalled that an official of Standard Chartered Bank, Ifeoma Okeagbue, gave the details of the balances on the five different accounts of the suspended CJN during the trial.
Okeagbue, who is the Team Leader of Priority Banking, as well as Onnoghen’s Relationship Manager at the branch of the bank in Wuse II, Abuja, said all the bank accounts were still active and were opened separately between 2009 and 2010 in euro, pounds, dollar and naira denominations.
She was quoted saying: “On the account 5001062686, the opening balance in January 2018 was €30,178.58. As at December 2018, the balance was €10,187.18.
“On account 5001062693, at January 2018, it is with opening balance of N6,411,312.77. At December 2018, the balance is N12,852,580.52
“On account 5001062679 the opening balance as at January 2018 was £39,456.08 and by December 2018 the balance was £13,730.70.
“On account 0001062667, the opening balance as at January 2018 was N24,280,904 and as at December 2018, the balance was N2,656,019.21.
“On account 0001062650, as of January 2018, the opening balance was $80,824.25, and by January 2019, the balance was $56,878.”
Video, Image Credit: The Punch, Sahara Reporters,
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