The Presidency has said the conviction of Justice Walter Onnoghen by the Code of Conduct Tribunal for false assets declaration is “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 demonstrates clearly that the law is no respecter of persons, titles, social or political connections”.
The Presidency made no reference to the rejection of the CCT’s judgment by Justice Onnoghen, who has also filed a notice of appeal.
It, however, stressed that the essence of the rule of law is to hold everyone accountable equally before the law, regardless of their high or law status in the society, and defended 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.”
Also, the Presidency said that “the conviction of Justice Onnoghen should send a clear message 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”.