Financial corruption scandal engulfs Nigeria’s top justice amid political turmoil

Code of Conduct Tribunal convicts Justice Walter Onnoghen

The Tribunal convicted Mr. Onnoghen of false asset declarations in foreign bank holdings.  The judge must now forfeit multiple foreign bank accounts and their (unidentified) contents to the Nigerian federal government.  He is further barred from holding public office for ten years.

Walter Onnoghen in court

Observers question the motivation behind the (sudden) accusation and (quick) conviction, all occurring within the short span of time from January, when President Muhammadu Buhari’s government charged the Justice with a 6-count indictment, until today, the reason being that the upcoming presidential election may be impacted by the conviction.

Notes white-collar and competition attorney Andreas Stargard with Primerio Ltd.: “The Tribunal’s three-person panel had previously rejected the Judge’s legal team’s procedural attacks on the jurisdiction to remove him from office (as he had voluntarily resigned earlier), with the Panel’s foreman noting that Mr. Onnoghen had amassed ‘huge amounts of money in his accounts’, which one may see as an indication of potentially corrupt sources of income by the Justice…”

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