The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, said on Wednesday that he was not aware of his reported ongoing investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
He, however, assured the public that he had nothing to hide and was open to investigation.
A statement by the CJN’s Senior Special Assistant (Media), Mr. Awassam Bassey, was responding to a report in a national daily on Wednesday which indicated that the CJN’s name was on the list of high-profile persons being investigated by the EFCC as of August 2017.
It was reported that the list was sent by the EFCC to the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice last month.
The CJN described the “intelligence” being reportedly relied on by the EFCC for the ongoing investigation as “abstract”, saying he had never been invited for investigation by the anti-corruption agency.
He stated, “Our attention has been drawn to media reports quoting the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as probing the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, GCON, for yet-to-be disclosed reasons.
“The reports in the media mentioned the reason for the investigation as “intelligence” which for now we take to be abstract.
“However, the Hon. CJN wishes to use this medium to say that it is the first time he is being aware of any allegations or intelligence against him, neither has he been invited or called upon to offer any explanation on any impropriety.
“However, the Hon. CJN wishes to assure the public that he has nothing to hide and is open to investigation.
“As a committed patriot, who has spent all his adult life in the temple of justice, the Hon. CJN is ready to pay the required price to make the nation a better place.
“The commitment of the Hon. CJN to the efforts of the current administration to rid the country of corrupt practices is unwavering and he will stop at nothing to see a new dawn in Nigeria’s Judiciary.
“He will also not be distracted in his avowed reformative efforts to make the Nigerian judiciary a beacon of well-rounded justice which the entire citizenry will be proud of.
“The public is encouraged to keep faith and trust in the present administration’s fight against corruption and be assured that the CJN is doing his best to reform the Judiciary accordingly.”
Meanwhile, the EFCC confirmed on Wednesday that Onnoghen was no longer under probe as he was only investigated last year and found to be clean.
The anti-graft agency said this in a Facebook post on Wednesday.
The commission stated, “For the avoidance of doubt, cases under investigation communicated to the Office of the AGF by the commission are classified information and it is troubling how such would be leaked to the media.
“The mastermind of this leak is out to create disaffection between the commission and, particularly, the judiciary.
“The commission wishes to state categorically that it is currently not investigating Justices Onnoghen and Kafarati.
“While Onnoghen was being considered for his present position, the commission received some petitions which were investigated and found to be without merit and discarded.”