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EXCLUSIVE: EFCC traces lawyer’s $30,000 payment to Onnoghen’s account

EXCLUSIVE: EFCC traces lawyer’s $30,000 payment to Onnoghen’s account
February 07
14:35 2019
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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has traced a deposit of $30,000 by Joe Agi, a senior advocate, into the bank account of Walter Onnoghen, the embattled chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), TheCable understands.

It has emerged that Onnoghen also failed to disclose that he has an account at Heritage Bank in his asset declaration form — another violation of the code of conduct law.

Agi is one of the senior advocates defending Onnoghen in his asset declaration case before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

TheCable was informed that Agi was also the guarantor when the justice opened the account at Standard Chartered Bank.

The fresh allegations form part of the report sent by the EFCC to the National Judicial Council (NJC) for disciplinary action to be taken against Onnoghen, who has been suspended as CJN by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Buhari said he was acting based on an order issued by the CCT, although observers have accused him of not following due process in his action.

Onnoghen is currently being tried by the CCT over allegations of non-declaration of some of his assets, although he said it was an oversight.

He also said he made money from agriculture and forex investments.

NJC sources told TheCable that the $30,000 deposit was made sometime in 2009 while a series of “suspicious payments” were also traced to Onnoghen’s accounts between 2011 and 2013 during elections petition cases.

In a previous case, which was eventually dismissed, a foreign firm owned by Agi’s friends paid N30 million into the account of the wife of Adeniyi Adetokunbo Ademola, a justice of the federal high court, for their daughter’s wedding.

The case filed against him for “gratification” was dismissed on technical grounds, although many lawyers argued that it was a professional misconduct which should have been punished by the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee.

Efforts by TheCable to reach Agi were unsuccessful as his phone rang out. He has also not responded to text messages.

Editor’s note: This story has been edited for factual reasons.

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