Any hope of the famed trial of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, continuing at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has been dashed with a court in Abuja extending the restraining order against the continuation of the trial of Nigeria’s Chief Justice, Walter Onnoghen to January 28.
The latest development comes as the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) has directed the nation’s financial intelligence unit to freeze five accounts of the embattled CJN.
The federal high court, presided over by Justice N. E. Maha, according to a report, gave the order after a counsel representing the respondents told the court on Thursday that his client had not been served.
The court ordered a fresh service of the court summons to the respondents and asked that the date of service be included in the proof of service before the next hearing.
Before adjourning the matter, Ms Maha ruled that the order for parties to maintain status quo, still stands.
The implications of this order includes among other things that the trial of Mr Onnoghen, scheduled to continue on January 22 at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), may have to be suspended, pending further directives.
The CJN is facing trial at the tribunal for alleged false asset declaration.
He was arraigned by the anti-graft agency, the Code of Conduct Bureau.
The CJN was charged, following a petition filed by a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
But several applications have been filed, resulting to court decisions suspending the trial.
After the FHC gave its interim order for the suspension of the matter till January 17 following two applications by civil groups, the Industrial court gave a similar order suspending the trial till January 21.
The applications in the instant case were brought by the incorporated trustees of two groups: the Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative, and the International Association of Students Economists and Management.
Parties expected to appear in court regarding the matter include the CCT chairman, Danladi Umar; the minister of justice, Abubakar Malami; the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu; the National Judicial Council, headed by Mr Onnoghen and the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
In a letter signed titled, “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”, and signed by Abiodun Aikomo, dated January 14, 2019, the Office of the AGF directed that the accounts be frozen pending the conclusion of the charge before the CCT.
It reads: “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).”
▪Additional reports courtesy of Premium Times.