Walter Onnoghen, the suspended chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), has denied all allegations levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before the National Judicial Council (NJC).
EFCC accused him of “financial impropriety, infidelity to the constitution and other economic and financial crimes related laws” and asked that he be punished accordingly.
This case is different from the one before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
If the NJC upholds the allegations, Onnoghen could be removed as CJN and asked to face criminal trial.
Responding to EFCC’s petition, Onnoghen’s lawyers, R.A. Lawal-Rabana, Okon Nkanu Efut, J.U.K. Igwe, George Ibrahim, Victoria Agi, Orji Ude Ekumankama, Opeyemi Origunloye, and Temitayo Fiki, dismissed all the allegations.
In their detailed response, Onnoghen’s lawyers denied all allegations of bribery and corruption.
Some of the highlights of Onnoghen’s defence are:
- Monetary gifts paid into his account by some lawyers were unsolicited and were for his daughter’s wedding, and no other payments from lawyers could be traced to him before or after the wedding.
- Onyechi Ikepeaze did not have any case before Onnoghen at the time he gave a monetary gift of N300,000 for the daughter’s wedding.
- Receiving estacodes by cash is a practice, a convention of the supreme court which did not start with Onnoghen.
- On allegation of giving half of his estacode to his wife on a foreign trip, the lawyers said a supreme court circular dating back to 2007 allowed the practice and no offence was committed by Onnoghen.