The Nigerian Government is set to arraign the head of the country’s judicial arm, accusing him of asset declaration offences.
Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen is being slammed with charges of non-declaration and will stand trial 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, 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, “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”
Walter Onnoghen became the Chief Justice in March 2017, few months after the homes of several federal judges, including those of the Supreme Court, were searched in an anti-corruption raid.
According to court papers, the Nigerian government said it was only in 2016 after the controversial crackdown on judges that Mr Onnoghen partially declared his asset, but still failed to declare a series of bank accounts, denominated in local and foreign currencies, linked to him at a Standard Chartered Bank branch in Abuja.
The trial could further strain relations between the judicial and the executive arms of the federal government, which had been largely tense since the raid on federal judges’s homes in October 2016.
Two judges of the Supreme Court were amongst those whose houses were raided. They were charged for corruption, but none of them has been found guilty of wrongdoing.