Buhari Obeys CCT’s Order To Suspend Justice Onnoghen
President Muhammadu Buhari has suspended the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, over an alleged false assets declaration charges.
President Buhari, who announced the suspension on Friday, stated that he acted based on an order from the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on January 23, 2019.
A copy of the order read “the Defendant/Respondent (Justice Onnoghen) to step aside as the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the Chairman of the National Judicial Council over allegations of contravening the provisions of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act Cap C15 Laws of the Federation 2004 pending the determination of the Motion on Notice dated 10th day of January 2019.
“An interim order of the Honourable Tribunal directing the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to take all necessary measures to swear-in the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria as Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman National Judicial Council in order to prevent a vacuum in the Judicial Arm of government pending the determination of the Motion on notice,” the order read.
President Buhari, in his speech announcing the suspension said: “Although the allegations in the petition are grievous enough in themselves, the security agencies have since then traced other suspicious transactions running into millions of dollars to the CJN’s personal accounts, all undeclared or improperly declared as required by law.”
Recall that Justice Onnoghen was recently embroiled in allegations of fraudulent assets declaration and some undeclared amounts in his accounts.
According to a report by The Nation newspaper, detectives found “suspicious” transactions, including an $800,000 Standard Chartered Bank investment subscription.
Also found is $630,000 lodged in some of the accounts through what is described as “structured payments” in tranches of $10,000 each.
Most of the lodgments, effected between 2012 and 2016, were undeclared in Justice Onnoghen’s assets declaration form.
In the meantime, President Buhari has sworn-in the next most senior judge at the Supreme Court, Tanko Mohammed, as the new acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.
The new Acting CJN was sworn-in a while ago at the State House in Abuja.