THE Office of the Attorney General of the Federation has directed the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to freeze the account five numbers belonging to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, pending the determination of the suit against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
Onnoghen was recently charged before the CCT for allegedly failing to include the said bank accounts in his assets declaration form.
A letter from the office of the AGF, which was addressed to the NFIU and sighted by journalists in Wednesday, read: “I am directed by Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to request that you, pursuant to the Presidential Executive Order No. 6 of 2018, forthwith restrict normal banking operations on certain accounts belonging to Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen pending final determination of the case against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT/ABJ/1/19.
“These accounts are as follows:
a. Account No. 5001062686 (Euro) Standard Chartered Bank (SCB)
b. Account No 5001062679 (Pound Sterling) SCB
c. Account No 0001062650 (Dollar) SCB
d. Account No 0001062667 (Naira) SCB, and
e Account No 5000162693 (Naira)”
The letter was signed by one Abiodun Aikomo on behalf of Abubakar Malami, the AGF.
Onnoghen did not appear before the CCT on the day of his trial, rather over 40 senior lawyers represented him in court.
Led by Wole Olanipekun (SAN) the defence team argued that Onnoghen had not been previously investigated and indicted by the National Judicial Council (NJC) as required by law, hence the CCT lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
But Chairman of the Tribunal, Danladi Umar, insisted that the accused person ought to be docked and take his plea before the issue of jurisdiction could be heard.
However, following the admittance of the court attendant that he did not serve the court summons on the CJN personally, but had handed it to his personal assistant, the tribunal adjourned sitting to January 22, so that the defendant could be served properly.
The suit against Onnoghen was premised on a petition which was written by Dennis Aghanya, the Executive Director of a civil society group known as the Anti-Corruption and Research-Based Data Initiative.
Aghanya is a former media aide to President Buhari and is currently a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). He, however, denies that Buhari has any hand in the petition he wrote to the CCB.