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Is Nigeria’s Chief Justice being investigated by the EFCC?

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Is Nigeria’s Chief Justice being investigated by the EFCC?

A widely circulated report on Wednesday had stated that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was investigating several prominent Nigerians, including the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen and Justice Abdu Kafarati of the Federal High Court, over allegations of corruption.

Justice Onnoghen immediately came forward to refute the allegations. He said he was not aware of any allegation or intelligence against him and has never been invited for interrogation by the EFCC. According to a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant, Media, Awassam Bassey, “The CJN wishes to assure the public that he has nothing to hide and is open to investigation. As a committed patriot, the CJN is ready to pay the required price to make the nation a better place.”

The anti-graft agency has now also debunked the reports that Onnoghen is being investigated. The EFCC in a statement issued yesterday by its Head of Media and Publicity, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said: “The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has been drawn to a story entitled: “CJN, Okonjo-Iweala, Fayemi, Fayose, others under probe – EFCC, which appeared in a newspaper on yesterday, September 6, 2017 regarding a list of high profile persons, including the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Kayode Fayemi and Justice Abdu Kafarati of the Federal High Court, who are said to be currently under investigation by the Commission.

“According to the newspaper, the list, sighted by one of our correspondents via an EFCC source on Monday, was recently sent by the anti-graft agency to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), based on request.

“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.

“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 was eventually discarded.

“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.”

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