Responding to the interrogation in writing, Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen pleaded his innocence on the issues raised by the CCB, saying he did not do any wrong to warrant any action, having satisfied the requirements of publicly declaring his assets as a top public officer in Nigeria.
In a written statement to the CCB, sighted last night, Justice Onnoghen also explained that the undeclared foreign currencies found in his Standard Chartered Bank were sourced from his estacodes and medical allowances, including funds from his days in private practice between 1979 and 1989.
He explained that he filed the two assets declaration forms on the same day in 2016 after becoming CJN because he forgot to make another declaration of his assets at the expiration of his 2005 paper in 2009.
“Following my appointment as the Acting CJN in 2016 the need to declare my assets anew made me to realize the mistake and I therefore did the declaration to cover the period in default,” he explained.
On the seven accounts omitted in form SCN: 000014, he explained that it arose because he believed they were not opened during the period covered by the declaration.
According to him, the $10,000 cash deposits he made at different intervals into his account in Standard Chartered in 2011 came from his earned estacodes for medical expenses while the withdrawals from the accounts were due to paying for his children’s schools fees and for their upkeep abroad”.Mr Onnoghen said in his statement dated January 11.
It was not clear last night if the CCB could press ahead with the case against Onnoghen without clearing with the National Judicial Council, (NJC) which is headed by him, a body that has vehemently resisted the trial of any judge for corrupt practices without being reprimanded by it.