The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, is not under investigation for alleged corruption, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has said, saying a report of the probe of the CJN was not accurate.
The report, published by the Punch on Wednesday, also included, apart from Mr. Onnoghen, a Judge of the Federal High Court, Audu Kafarati; former first lady, Patience Jonathan; former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; serving Governors Ayo Fayose (Ekiti) and Yahaya Bello (Kogi); and the Minister for Solid Minerals, Kayode Fayemi among others.
But the EFCC, in a statement Wednesday afternoon, said, though, there were petitions filed against Mr. Onnoghen at the time he was under consideration for his current position, agency found no valid claim in the allegations and, as such, he was not under investigation.
“The Commission wishes to state categorically that it is currently not investigating Justices Onnoghen and Kafarati,” stated Wilson Uwujaren, the spokesperson for the EFCC.
“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.”
Mr. Uwujaren said the report could create disaffection between the EFCC and the judiciary.
He, however, did not deny the commission was investigating other politically exposed persons, like Messrs. Fayemi, Fayose, Yahaya Bello, Godswill Akpabio and Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, among others.
The newspaper had reported that its story was sourced from a document sent, containing list of high profile suspected corruption cases, to the Attorney -General of the Federation by the EFCC.
“It is important to state that this report did not emanate from the EFCC and the allusion to “an EFCC source” is diversionary and mischievous.
“For the avoidance of doubt, cases under investigation communicated to the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation by the Commission are classified information and it is troubling how such would be leaked to the media.
“Indeed, much damage has been done to the Commission’s investigation activities by this leak especially as some of the cases mentioned are still at preliminary stages of investigation.,” said Mr. Uwujaren.