The federal government has asked the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to freeze five bank accounts belonging to Walter Onnoghen, chief justice of Nigeria (CJN).
In a letter seen by TheCable, the office of the attorney-general of the federation said the restriction should be in place pending the determination of the case against Onnoghen at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
The demand was based on the Presidential Executive order No. 6 enacted on July 5, 2018.
His targeted accounts are with at Standard Chartered Bank.
“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 the Presidential Executive Order No. 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,” read the letter signed by Abiodun Aikomo on behalf of Abubakar Malami, the attorney-general of the federation.
“These accounts are as follows:
a. Account No. 5001062686 (Euro) Standard Chartered Bank (SCB)
b. Account No 5001062679 (Pound Sterling) SCB
c. Account No 0001062650 (Dollar) SCB
d. Account No 0001062667 (Naira) SCB, and
e Account No 5000162693 (Naira)
“Please accept the assurances of the esteem of the honourable attorney general of the federation and minister of justice.”
The Code of Conduct Bureau had filed a six-count charge of false assets declaration against Onnoghen after a petition by the Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative (ARDI).
He was to be arraigned at the tribunal on Monday but he failed to appear while the case was adjourned till January 22.
The national industrial court had restrained Danladi Umar, chairman of the tribunal, from going ahead to hear the case against the CJN pending the determination of a motion filed by one Peter Abang.
The Buhari administration has been under severe criticism since the report broke on Saturday.
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government of intimidating the judiciary ahead of the elections.
Earlier on Wednesday, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo broke his silence on the allegations levelled against the CJN, saying he he felt sad when he learnt of the attempt to arraign the nation’s number five citizen.