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Onnoghen: AGF Wants Accounts Frozen



More troubles seem to be looming for the embattled Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice  Walter Onnoghen as the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation has asked the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit to freeze his bank accounts. 

In a letter dated January 14, 2018 with reference number HAGF/2019/E06/Vol.01, the AGF stated that the order was in line with Executive Order 06 on the preservation of assets connected with corruption.

The letter is entitled; “Re-Request for Freezing of Bank Accounts Subject To Investigation and Prosecution Pursuant To Presidential Executive Order No.6 of 5th July, 2018 On The Preservation of Assets Connected With Corruption.”

In the document signed by Abiodun Aikomo on behalf of the AGF, Onnoghen’s accounts with Standard Chartered Bank that are in dollar, pounds, euro and naira were requested to be frozen.

The five accounts that reportedly bear Onnoghen’s name have the following numbers: 0001062650, 9300106268, 285001062679, 5001062683 and 0010626667.

The letter read in part, “I am directed by Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to request that you, pursuant to Executive Order 6 of 2018, forthwith restrict normal banking operations on certain accounts belonging to Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen pending final determination of the case against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT/ABJ/1/19 – Federal Republic of Nigeria v Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen Nkanu Walter Samuel.

These accounts are: Account number 5001062683 (euro) Standard Chartered Bank. 5001062683 (pounds) 0001062650 (dollar), 0010626667 (naira) and 5001062683 (naira).

It will be recalled that Justice Onnoghen is accused of failing to declare the funds in the accounts in his asset declaration form.

The trial of the CJN had commenced earlier on Monday and Onnoghen was not present before the Honourable Danladi Umar-led Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) to answer a six-count charge filed against him by the Nigerian government.

At the hearing of the case, Wole Olanipekun (Senior Advocate of Nigeria), who led the defence counsel comprising 42 other Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) and dozens of other lawyers, said the reason for Onnoghen’s non-appearance was because he wasn’t properly served.

Olanipekun stated that the defendant was not served personally as required by law, adding that they were not in court for arraignment, but to challenge the jurisdiction of the tribunal to hear the case. He asked the court to uphold the dignity of the law, noting that the case is a criminal one and the defendant must be personally served.

In his submission, Aliyu Umar (SAN), the prosecution counsel, told the court that the defendant directed the court officials who went to serve him to give the summons to his personal assistant.

Umar said they expected the defendant to tell the court that he was served, but he decided to tell the court that he was not served personally. He noted that if the defendant is demanding his right to be served personally, then they would oblige him that request and serve him.

The CCT eventually adjourned till January 22, 2019, for hearing on the motion challenging the court’s jurisdiction to hear the case.

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