CCT convicts Onnoghen of false assets declaration
The Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, has convicted the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Walter Onnoghen after finding him guilty of false assets declaration.
The three-man panel of the tribunal in a judgment delivered by the Chairman, Danladi Umar ruled that Onnoghen should forfeit the funds in the five accounts which he was accused of not disclosing.
The tribunal said he evidently acquired the funds fraudulently since he failed to show how the huge amount was acquired.
He was found guilty of the six-count charge of failure to declare his assets in line with the provisions of the law for public officers.
The three-man panel held that from the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses and the statement of Onnoghen admitting that he made a mistake of not declaring his five accounts with Standard Chartered Bank, the tribunal came to the conclusion that he is guilty as charged.
The CCT having convicted Onnoghen of the charges went ahead to remove him as the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman of the National Judicial Council, NJC.
Umar also ordered that in line with the provisions of the Code of Conduct and Tribunal Act, the former CJN is barred from holding any public office for the next ten years.
Umar also held that since Onnoghen could not adduce any evidence as to how he got the monies in the undeclared accounts in the Standard Chartered Bank, the monies are thereby confiscated, seized and are to be forfeited to the federal government.
Earlier, the CCT had overruled Onnoghen on his claim that he lacked jurisdiction to hear the charge.
Umar also overruled Onnoghen on the claim that the chairman of the CCT is bound to be bias in the trial owing to the fact that he is being prosecuted by the EFCC on bribery allegations and that the CCT being under the supervision of the presidency is bound to do the biddings of the prosecution.
It invoked the full provisions of Section 23 of the Code of Conduct Law which allows it to remove Onnoghen from office. It ordered that he should not return to office in the next ten years.
The embattled CJN had weeks earlier sent a notice of retirement to President Muhammadu Buhari in line with the recommendations of the National Judicial Council.