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‘How I Got Dollars, Pounds, Others’ —- Onnoghen Opens Up On Foreign Accounts

Peter Okunoren

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Ahead of his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) slated for Monday, suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, has opened up on how he got the foreign currencies he deposited in his domiciliary accounts.

In a ‘Cautionary Statement Form’ filed at the Department of Intelligence Investigation and Monitoring, Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), in Abuja, he said the deposits in his dollar account were from trading in foreign exchange (forex), AGRICODE, while other investment returns were from proceeds of his investments.

Justice Onnoghen’s averments were contained in a voluntary statement he made at CCB.

In the statement, he specifically explained that “the deposits made in my US Dollar account No. 87000106250 with STD. Chartered Bank of $10,000 at different intervals of June 28, 2011 were sourced partly from my reserve and saving from my estacodes, including medical expenses.

“The same applies to my deposit of July 28, 2011, of $10,000 twice. It is important to state that prior to my opening the US dollar account, I had foreign currency, which I kept at home, due to the fact that there existed a government that proscribed the operation of foreign currency account by public officers including judicial officers.

“It was when I got to know that the policy had changed that I had to open the said account. Upon opening the account, I was made to understand that I cannot pay in more than $10,000 at a time and per payment slip. I cannot remember the total amount I had on reserve at the time, but it spread from my practice days as a private legal practitioner from 1979 to 1989.

“Some of the deposits are a result of forex trading, AGRICODE, and other investment returns were from proceeds of my investments into them. The withdrawals in the account are partly to pay children’s fees, upkeep abroad and further investments. My British pound and euro accounts with Chartered Standard Bank are savings accounts.”

“In the January 1, 2019 document, the suspended jurist, who wrote his statement on January 11, 2019, between 12:30pm to 1: 45pm added: “I, Walter S. N. Onnoghen, of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, hereby, voluntarily depose to the statement averred herein, knowing that whatever I write or state may be tendered against me as evidence in court.

“I also volunteer to state that the statement was not taken in evidence from me under duress but after the administering officer had explained and made known the details of the allegations against me.”

In response to allegations of non-declaration of his assets, justice Onnoghen added: “My asset declaration for numbers. SCN000014 and SCN.0000 5 were declared on the same day, December 14, 2016 because I forgot to make a declaration of May 2005 of my assets after the expiration of my 2005 declaration in 2009.

“Following my appointment as acting chief justice of Nigeria in November 2016, the need to declare my asset anew made me to realise the mistake and then did the declarations to cover the period in default.

“I did not include my Standard Chartered Bank Account in SCN. 000014 because I believed they were not opened during the period covered by the declaration.

“I did not make a fresh declaration of asset after my substantive appointment as CJN because I was under the impression that my SCN. 000015 was to cover the period of four years; which includes my leave as CJN.”

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PHOTO: Tanko All Smiles After Senate Confirmation As CJN

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The Senate has confirmed Justice Muhammad Tanko as the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

He was confirmed at plenary on Wednesday.

The Senate had earlier gone into a closed-door session over his confirmation.

The upper legislative chamber went into the session after Abdullahi Abubakar, senate leader, moved a motion for the confirmation of Muhammad.

On Tuesday, Senate President Ahmad Lawan had asked that copies of Muhammad’s curriculum vitae (CVs) be shared among the senators.

Muhammad has been occupying the office of CJN in an acting capacity since January.

He took over the office after President Muhammadu Buhari suspended Walter Onnoghen for alleged misconduct.

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Please Beg Rafiu Not To Leave Me, He Should Forgive Me — Woman Who Attacks Hubby With Broken Bottles Prays Court

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An Ibadan-based trader, Bushira Salawudeen, has prayed a Mapo Customary Court to plead with her husband, Rafiu, to forgive her and stop the divorce proceedings.

Salawudeen, in her short statement before Alhaji Suleiman Apanpa, the President of the court, admitted that she threatens to attacks her husband with broken bottles during arguments to silence him.

“I can’t tell you what usually comes over me. I just know that I do attack Rafiu with broken bottles.

“Please, help me beg him, I will not repeat it again,” she begged the court.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Rafiu had told the court to put an end to the 23-year-old union between him and his wife on grounds of threat to life, lack of love and nagging attitude.

“For over three years now, she has threatened my life. She breaks bottles and threatens to stab me with it.

“I can’t allow her into my house again,” he told the court.

Corroborating the plaintiff’s submission, Rafiu’s sister prayed the court to dissolve the union without any further waste of time.

“My lord, I have spoken to her to drop her arrogance and act of hooliganism, but her heart is made of stone.

Delivering his ruling, Justice Apanpa noted that the court does not tolerate any act that could bring about bloodshed.

Apanpa dissolved the marriage and awarded custody of two children to Rafi’u and the one to Salawudeen.

“Rafiu shall pay N5,000 as the child’s monthly feeding allowance in addition to being responsible for his education and welfare.

“Rafiul shall also pay N5,000 to Bushira to enable her to move her property,” the arbitrator ordered.

(NAN)

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Hit-And-Run Driver Kills NAN Director Two Months After Predecessor’s Death

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A hit-and-run driver on Sunday killed Christian Okoro, the Head of Technical Services of the News Agency of Nigeria.

Okoro, 50, was killed around Sharp Corner area of Mararaba along the Keffi-Abuja Road while trying to cross the road to pick his car.

His death is coming barely two months after his predecessor, Mathias Ajudua, died on May 10.

An eyewitness account indicated that Okoro had gone to watch the Nigeria/Algeria AFCON semifinal encounter at a football viewing center and was on his way home after the match when the speeding vehicle knocked him down and zoomed off.

He was said to have earlier gone for his community meeting and was heading home when he decided to join some friends to watch the crucial match.

“The car was speeding, so when it hit Okoro, the impact was very heavy on him. He died instantly,” the witness told NAN.

Meanwhile, Okoro’s corpse has been deposited at the National Hospital, Abuja mortuary, while a condolence register has been opened at the NAN headquarters in Abuja.

A senior Police Officer, who confirmed the incident, described it as “saddening and unfortunate”.

“The matter has been reported to us and is being investigated,” the officer told NAN, craving anonymity.

Born on June 20, 1969 in Enugu-Ezike, Igbo Eze North Local Government in Enugu State, Okoro attended St. Theresa College, Nsukka, Enugu State before heading to the Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Enugu, where he bagged a Bsc in Electrical/Electronics.

He was a member of the Nigeria Society of Engineers and the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria.

He joined the services of NAN on January 8, 2004, and steadily rose to become an Assistant Director, Technical Services.

He is survived by his widow, Cordelia, and four children.

The Acting Managing Director of NAN, Malam Ibrahim Mammaga, who led the management and staff of NAN to pay a condolence visit to his family, described Okoro’s death as “a huge loss” to the NAN family.

“The death of Okoro has robbed NAN of dedicated staff. Okoro was a huge asset to the agency. He has left a vacuum that will be difficult to fill,” Mammaga said.

He prayed God to grant the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

Alhaji Abdulhadi Khaliel, Head, Administration and Human Resources Management, who also reacted to Okoro’s death, described it as “devastating and painful”.

“Okoro was a peace-loving officer, who was committed to duty and always ready to learn,” Khaliel said.

Julius Enehikhuere, a Deputy Editor-in-Chief, described Okoro as “a jolly good fellow and a committed staff who was always there for the editorial department”.

“We shall miss his team spirit and deep commitment to duty. His sudden exit is shocking to all of us. We pray God to comfort the family,” Enehikhuere said.

The agency’s Assistant Director A/HRM, Moses Uzoagba, also described Okoro’s death as “a personal loss to me”.

“Okoro, apart from being a colleague, was my personal friend. We have been together for years and I will greatly miss him,” Uzoagba said.

Another staff, Livinus Ugochukwu, said Okoro was a personal friend whose death had hit him like a thunderbolt.

“The news shocked me to my marrows; I am particularly sad because his children are still very young,” Ugochukwu said.

Kemi Olumorin, who worked with Okoro in the office, described him as “a transparent boss that was always ready to listen to his subordinates”.

“He was approachable; he had a listening ear and was a good boss. He was a very considerate leader and could feel your pains,” Olumorin said.

Okoro is the second Director of ICT to have died within the last two months.

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