Whatever the outcome of the ongoing trial of the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, there are fresh criminal charges that would be leveled against him.
A source from the government reveals on Sunday night there are three aspects of Onnoghen’s trial that are yet to be charged.
According to the source: “when President Muhammadu Buhari decided to suspend Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen on the 25th of January, 2019, it was in response to serious allegations of irregularities, illegalities and criminal conduct contained in petitions submitted against the top judicial officer, and indeed some findings of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which not only substantiated those petitions but threw up even more damning facts. Since then, there have been several public revelations and judicial proceedings which are sometimes confusing to members of the general public.”
“For clarity, there are two different cases currently ongoing before constituted panels, plus a separate ethical issue in the public domain”.
The source further reveals the three aspect of trial which Onnoghen is yet to face.
1. Case before the code of conduct tribunal
The first point of focus has been the failure of the Chief Judge to declare his assets immediately after taking office and every four years thereafter, as required by the 1999 Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, and the Code of Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.
2. Case before the national judicial council
The more interesting aspect of the suspended CJN’s dilemma involves allegations of several breaches of the criminal and anti-corruption laws, including money laundering, bribery and tax evasion.
3. The ethics issue and threshold of permissible judicial conduct