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Onnoghen: From Chief Justice to convicted Chief Judge

By Idowu Bankole

Sacked chief justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen was yesterday, convicted by the code of conduct tribunal, CCT, in a landmark judgment against false asset declaration.

Justice Walter Onnoghen

Danladi Umar, CCT chairman, found him guilty of all the six counts charges preferred against him by the federal government.

Onnonghen has since rejected the ruling and has filed a notice of appeal at the appellate court in Abuja to challenge the ruling of the tribunal.

Vanguard recalls that Onnoghen was nominated by the then Ag. President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo as the Acting Chief Justice of the Federation.

Mahmud Mohammed was the predecessor of Justice Walter Onnoghen. Justice Mahmud Mohammed In November 2014, was appointed as the Chief Justice of Nigeria to succeed Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, the first female Justice of Nigeria.

Recall that Onnoghen was appointed while President Buhari was out of the country on medical leave. The sacked Justice Onnoghen was not confirmed until a heated debate in the Senate and several protests by civil rights groups.

Also read: Onnoghen destroyed judiciary before his resignation ― Group

Former Justice Onnoghen was confirmed as Chief Justice of Nigeria on the 1st of March, 2017 and sworn-in on the 7th of March, 2017.

Onnoghen’s trials began when a petition was filed by a civil rights group at the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) alleging that he owns various accounts primarily funded through cash deposits made by himself up to as recently as 10 August 2016, which appear to have been run in a manner inconsistent with financial transparency and the code of conduct for public officials.

The trial started on the 14th of January, 2019, at the code of conduct tribunal but the sacked justice Onnoghen was absent citing irregularities in the summons procedure, the sitting was therefore adjourned for one week.

In the landmark judgement delivered by Danladi Umar of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, which sacked, ordered the forfeiture of the money in all the 5 bank accounts Onnoghen to the federal government and the banning of former justice Walter Onnoghen from holding public office for ten years, has been compared with similar cases at the Code of Conduct Tribunal with different outcomes and pronounce of Judgements.

Onnonghen has, however, rejected the ruling of the Code of Conduct Tribunal and had since filed a notice of appeal to the appellate court in Abuja, challenging the judgement against him.

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