”I Forgot To Declare My Assets” – Onnoghen
Embattled Chief Justice of Nigeria(CJN), Walter Onnoghen has attributed his failure to declare his assets to forgetfulness.
Onnoghen is scheduled to face the Code of Conduct Tribunal(CCT) on Monday, January 14th for failure to declare his assets after his appointment as CJN.
According to Premium Times, Onnoghen said in a statement made to the CCB that he ”forgot to update his asset declaration, after the expiration of his 2005 declaration”.
The CJN, and Nigeria’s most senior official in the judiciary said he thought that the form SCN 000015 filed in December 2016 was enough to cover for the declaration of his assets.
A group, Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative filed a petition against Onnoghen for the non declaration of assets.
The group further alleged the CJN of failing to declare ownership of some illegal accounts outside the shores of Nigeria.
The group headed by Denis Aghanya said its petition was necessitated by the closeness of the 2019 elections and the importance of the judiciary before and after the elections.
It said the petition was submitted “bearing in mind the imminence of the 2019 elections and the overwhelming role of the judiciary both before and after the election.”
Onnoghen in his response to the petition said in a statement on Friday, January 11th;
“My asset declaration form numbers SCN 00014 and SCN 00005 were declared on the same day, 14/12/2016 because I forgot to make a declaration of my assets after the expiration of my 2005 declaration in 2009. Following my appointment as acting CJN in November, 2016, the need to declare my assets anew made me to realize the mistake.
“I then did the declaration to cover the period in default. I did not include my standard charted bank account in SCN 000014 because I believed they were not opened.
“I did not make a fresh declaration of asset after my substantive appointment as CJN because I was under the impression that my SCN 000015 was to cover that period of four years which includes my term as CJN.”
Onnoghen was sworn in as Nigeria’s CJN on the 7th of March, 2017.