Onnoghen’s asset forms haven’t been verified since 2016 – Witness

Justice Walter Onnoghen

A former director of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Awal Usman, on Thursday said the bureau had not verified asset declaration forms since 2016.

Mr Usman said this in his testimony at the ongoing trial of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, who is being tried for non-declaration of assets.

Usman, while being cross-examined by Onnoghen’s counsel, Adeboyega Awomolo, said only the CCB chairman can authorise access to the declaration forms of any public office holder.

When asked again if it was only the chairman that could authorise access to an asset form, the witness said “no.”

Usman, who claimed to have received Onnoghen’s forms in 2016, was asked by Mr Awomolo if he knew it was a criminal offence to have unauthorised access to declaration forms, Usman said “I don’t know”.

Defence counsels have been making efforts to unravel how the executive secretary of Anti-Corruption and Research-Based Data Initiative (ARDI), Dennis Aghanya, reportedly had access to Onnoghen’s forms.