- Presidency describes Onnoghen’t conviction as victory for its anti-corruption crusade.
- Says it is a clear signal that the dragnet against corruption will be spread widely to hold public officials accountable,
The Presidency has reacted to the conviction of former Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Walter Onnoghen by the Code of Conduct Tribunal for false assets declaration.
Describing the conviction as “a major victory for the anti-corruption policy of the Buhari administration” in an emailed statement to journalists, hours after the CCT’s ruling, the Presidency said the outcome of the trial “demonstrates clearly that the law is no respecter of persons, titles, social or political connections”.
In his ruling, Justice Usman Danladi said the Tribunal came to the conclusion that the defendant has falsely declared his asset by failing to declare the five accounts listed in the charge sheet.
Meanwhile, Justice Onnoghen who was banned from holding public office for ten years has filed an appeal against the judgement, as the Presidency made no reference to the rejection of the CCT’s judgment by him.
While stating that the essence of the rule of law is to hold everyone accountable equally before the law, the Presidency said regardless of their high or low status in the society, it will defend the war against corruption, insisting it is all encompassing and is not designed to persecute anyone for political or other reasons.
“The rule of law would lose its meaning and validity if only the weak, the poor and powerless are punished for their violations of the law. Countries succeed because the rule of law is evenly upheld and enforced,” it said.
“The war against corruption would go nowhere if the high and mighty are spared because of their influence and connections. You can’t fight corruption by allowing impunity because the rule of law cannot function where impunity is tolerated.”
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The Presidency also said that the conviction of Justice Onnoghen should be a clear signal that the dragnet against corruption will be spread widely to hold public officials accountable, whether they are politicians, Judges, civil servants or holding positions of public trust”.