Mr.Joe Agi, a senior advocate of Nigeria, has said that he could not have bribed Nigeria’s Chief Justice, Walter Onnoghen (CJN) because at the time in question the CJN was number eight in the hierachy of the Supreme.
Agi said this on Wednesday in a statement, explaining that the $30,000 he deposited into Mr. Onnoghen’s domiciliary account was cash given to him by the CJN in 2009 to be deposited into the account after it was opened.
He also confirmed reports that he stood as a referee for Onnoghen when the account was opened in 2009.
According to him, even if they are saying he gave Onnoghen money, there are seven people who sit at the Supreme Court, was the money for all of them? And for which case? he asked.
Agi said, “In the year 2009, I brought to his knowledge that he can open a domiciliary account instead of travelling with cash from Nigeria to abroad on seminars, holidays, conferences or medical trips. My Lord Justice Onnoghen said he had no idea since opening of foreign account was forbidden for public officers. I informed him that domiciliary account is not a foreign bank account as it is opened and operated within the local banks in Nigeria.
“It was on this note that I went to my banker, Standard Chartered Bank and obtained account opening forms for him as a friend and senior brother. He completed the forms and I ‘refereed’ him. He gave me $30,000, being left over of his allowances for overseas seminars, holidays, conferences or medical trips to deposit for him as the first deposit. This I did in 2009, 10 years ago. After that, he operated the account himself without me paying even a cent into that account till date.”
The senior advocate of Nigeria, who had been tried and acquitted on allegations of fraud, alongside a suspend judge, Adeniyi Ademola, described his current investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as undue harassment.
Agi alleged that the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami and those he described as “cabal” had been after him since he exposed and secured the refund of what he called a fraudulent deduction of $3.18billion from local governments account by the federal government part of the Paris Club refund.
Instead of the government paying him his legal fees of over N70 million for exposing and winning the case in court, he claimed that Malami and the same cabal had framed him up with trump up charges including bribing the suspended CJN.
Mr Agi stated he had no reason to bribe Onnoghen in 2009, noting that he could not recall if he had a particular case at the apex court at the time.
“Now 10 years after, I am again being vilified and accused of giving Justice Onnoghen bribe. If I may ask; bribe for which case? In the Supreme Court panel, they sit in five or seven persons, was the $30,000 for the Justices? And for which case? This is another huge joke aimed at vilifying my person by the same cabal who are hell bent on tarnishing my image as an aftermath of the exposure of the Paris Club fraud,” he said.