JUST IN: Buhari’s govt. asks NFIU to freeze Onnoghen’s Bank accounts
President Muhammadu Buhari’s led 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 an online newspaper, TheCable, the office of Abubakar Malami, 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 a presidential executive order.
The federal government had filed a six-count charge of false assets declaration against Onnoghen after Dennis Aghanya, an ex-aide of President Muhammadu Buhari, wrote a petition against the CJN.
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 targeted accounts are being operated 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
“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 current 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) 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.