The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has called for an open and diligent prosecution of the USD30, 000, expended on opening a domiciliary account for the suspended Chief Justice on Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen.
In responding to the development, the Executive Chairman of the Centre, Mr. Debo Adeniran, said: “We would recollect series of illicit and suspicious foreign deposits found in the bank accounts of suspended CJN that runs into hundredth of thousands in foreign denominators as raised by various whistleblowers. This brings us to the issue of the thirty thousand Dollars (USD30, 000 about N15m), which Mr. Joe Agi (SAN) purportedly claimed was an initial amount he personally convened the Chief Justice to open a foreign domiciliary account. Besides, we are aware that one does not need more than USD500 to open a domiciliary account in any of the banks in Nigeria, so why need over USD30000? The suspended CJN failed to declare this in his falsely declared Assets in the declaration of Assets Forms CCB 1(after being sworn-in as the justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria), by omitting to declare this particular domiciliary account no: 870001062650, maintained with Standard Chartered Bank (Nig) Ltd. Wuse 2, Abuja”.
Debo Adeniran further continued, saying: “Considering the status of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Onnoghen, as the country’s number 1 Judge, we may not discountenance the need for foreign seminars, conferences or medical trips, which he must have been deservedly entitled to. We would, however, note that this initial deposit is not all about the suspicious overall deposits the CJN is being accused of having illegally acquired. As at fast counts, such deposits run into millions of American dollars, some of which even in his own initial admission that he forgot to disclose, even when it is a trite saying in law that, ‘ignorance of the law is never a tenable excuse”.
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The CACOL boss concluded, saying, “In this same country, we all bear testimony to how the bench has been severally compromised and settled through the Bar, especially the senior members of the Bar. But since the $30,000 bribery allegation is one of many others leveled against Mr. Onnoghen himself, CACOL enjoins the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, and other cognate agencies, to do a thorough investigation in ascertaining the veracity of this claim and its appropriateness in law, likewise many other illicit financial allegations leveled against the suspended CJN. This would require a very meticulous, diligent and shrewd investigation that should unearth all that is hidden and unclear to ordinary Nigerians. This is the only approach that could guarantee a sanitized and befitting temple of justice that would not only restore the lost glory of the Nigerian bench but encourage the confidence of majority Nigerians who repose their hope in the entire Judiciary as the last place for redressing injustice and restoration of their fundamental rights”.