Sunday, 20 January 2019

FG Starts Probe Of Embattled CJN Walter Onnoghen's Salary Accounts

Detectives probing the finances of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, have turned their searchlight on his salary account, it was gathered yesterday.

And they may have unearthed evidence that the salary account laid untouched in the bank for 18 months at a stretch.

The development has sparked fresh anxiety on the fate of the CJN.

Preliminary findings by the detectives showed that the salary account has a turnover of N91,962.362.49.

No single withdrawal was made from it between March 2015 and October 2016.

A source familiar with the probe said: “He did not spend from the salary account from March 2015 to October 2016. The salary and allowances accumulated to N22, 520, 636.27 in October 2016 from N6, 132, 885.24 in March of 2015.”

A document on the probe  said: “Naira Account (Salary Account):

    The balance as at October 10, 2016 was N22,510,636.27;
    (b)The turnover in the account from September, 2005 to October, 2016 was N91,962.362.49;
    (c) His salary in 2005 was N240,202.20 and it rose to N751,082.37 in February 2008. The salary remains within this range till date;

” He did not spend from the salary account from March 2015 to October 2016. The salary and allowances accumulated to N22,520,636.27 in October 2016 from N6,132 885.24 in March of 2015 .

“From the investigation conducted so far, it is possible that the payments into the various accounts might be bribes.

“This is because the sources of the inflows into his accounts other than the salary account in Union Bank of Nigeria Plc are unknown and probably fraudulent, and the nature of the transaction (including structured payments), are not typical of the financial transactions of a Public Servant.”

A reliable source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Following the screening of the CJN’s accounts, detectives have discovered that the turnover does not tally with funds in other accounts.

“He needs to explain the sources of some extra inflows into other  accounts. The government may ask any of the anti-graft agencies to look into the latest discoveries.”

The retrieval of documents on CJN’s salary account is causing  anxiety at the bench and bar.

It was also learnt that some salary schedule officers might be interrogated by detectives.

“There is panic in the Supreme Court on the dimension the ongoing probe of the CJN, “a top source at the apex court said.

The detectives are said to be interested in finding out why the CJN did not withdraw from the salary account for 18 months.

There were also indications yesterday that the CJN might be quizzed on “some strange inflows into some of his accounts.”

It was not immediately clear whether the CJN might be handed over to any of the anti-graft agencies or the latest findings be reported to the National Judicial Council (NJC).
 Report has it that there was no restriction, as at last night, on five undeclared accounts of the CJN which were alleged to have about $3million.

The accounts were not declared by the CJN in his Asset Declaration Form.

Another top source said: “Although it is true that the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), has directed the NFIU to restrict the operation of the accounts of the CJN, the directive is yet to be carried out.

“The government stayed action in view of new dimensions into the financial activities of the CJN. There are more angles to the case against Onnoghen.

“So far, no restriction on CJN’s accounts.”

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