Suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, has filed an application before the Code of Conduct Tribubal (CCT), demanding the disqualification of the Chairman of the CCT, Danladi Umar, over a N10million bribery accusation against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The motion dated February 4, 2019, signed by Chris Uche (SAN), Chief Sebastine Hon (SAN), Okon Efut (SAN), Chief Ogwu Onoja (SAN), Noah Abdul and George Ibrahim, was brought pursuant to Rule 12 (1) and (1A) of the Revised Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2016.
The suspended CJN is “seeking an order of this honourable tribunal for the honourable chairman of the tribunal, Honourable Danladi Umar, to disqualify/recuse himself from further participating in the adjudication of this case on the grounds of real likelihood of bias.”
Onnoghen’s defence team noted that Mr. Umar ordered President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend the CJN and appoint Justice Tanko Muhammad without recourse to the constitution or the National Judicial Council (NJC).
He further noted that the CCT Chairman had a pending case before the EFCC and was consequently subjected to blackmail and threats from the executive arm of government which could also affect his ability to deliver fair judgment in the case.
“The learned chairman of the CCT (Hon Danladi Umar) is a tainted arbiter by reason of a criminal charge at the instance of the EFCC for receiving bribe money in the sum of N10m in charge number: CR/109/18 in FCT High Court by an organ under the supervision of the Attorney General of the Federation.
“Incidentally, he (AGF) is the prosecutor and complainant in this matter such that with such a sword of Damocles hanging over him, and himself not just recusing himself from a quasi-judicial function, he is himself not likely to be a fair arbiter, but instead more likely to trade in the charges against him in a quasi-plea bargaining in the charge against him and enter summary conviction in this proceedings to please the prosecutor.
“The applicant (Onnoghen) has no confidence in the chairman of the tribunal to do justice fairly between parties in this case as he is a man on a mission to please his masters.”
EFCC Chairman writes Buhari, says Onnoghen is still being investigated
A leaked letter from the Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, to President Muhammadu Buhari, shows that the anti-graft agency is still investigating the suspended Chief Justice Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen.
“It is no doubt indicative of the fact that the suspect must have been involved in bribery and corruption as well as using some corporate entities in perpetrating his money laundering activities.
“Your Excellency, investigation is still ongoing and further developments will be communicated.”
The letter dated January 30, 2019, with reference no. EFCC/EC/P/01 titled “Interim investigation report: Alleged case of bribery, corruption and money laundering,” the EFCC boss noted that the commission was investigating Onnoghen on an intelligence report which alleges that he was in possession of huge naira and foreign currencies far above his legitimate source of income.
Magu in the letter revealed that a special investigation team should be setup to carryout investigation into the matter.
“For speedy investigation, a special investigation team which will include lawyers and investigators will be constituted to specifically investigate allegations levelled against the suspect. The investigation is expected to be concluded within a short time frame.
“There is need to get the Asset Declaration Form of the suspect from the Code of Conduct Bureau for further investigation and to determine his net worth.
“Invitation of all individuals seen to have featured in his statements of account as having sent money to his account or received.
“Invitation of other individuals who paid money into the suspect’s Standard Chartered Bank account for interview.
“Determination of the source and mode of payments of the deposits into the SCB investment account held by the suspect with the aim of unraveling the individuals/entities that have given funds to the suspect over the years and expose his other sources of income.”