Corruption in the Judiciary: EFCC probes 8 judges, 2 court registrars

EFCCThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday said that it had begun a comprehensive probe into allegations of corruption against eight serving judges and two court registrars.

But the commission refused to name the judges.

The disclosure is contained in a statement refuting a publication insinuating that there was a rift between the commission and the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation over probe of some judicial officers.

The commission which appeared to have woken up from its slumber after the operatives of the DSS struck said it was already probing some allegation of corruption against some judges but that it did not go to its rooftop to proclaim what it was doing.

The statement which dismissed the publication as false accused the newspaper frm which published the report of engaging in a calculated plot to create a wedge between it and the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.

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The statement titled  “Re: Why AGF Shuns EFCC, Sends Judges’ Cases to DSS” and signed by EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujarien reads: “The attention of the EFCC has been drawn to a story in the Thursday, 13 October edition of The Punch, headlined, ‘Why AGF shuns EFCC, Sends Judges’ Cases to DSS’.

“The story, quoting some unnamed sources, tried to drive wedges between the Commission and the office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) on the one hand and the Commission and the Department of State Services (DSS) on the other.

“It alleges among others, that the Office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation, frustrated by the alleged tardiness of the EFCC in handling petitions forwarded to it, now sends the same cases to the DSS.

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“EFCC wishes to put on record, that there is no friction with the office of the AGF and the Commission is not involved in inter-agency squabbles with the DSS. Indeed, the Commission, along with the DSS, ICPC, Police and the office of the AGF, is a member of a technical committee that meets at the highest level of government to collaborate and coordinate strategies against corruption. The last such meeting was as recently as today.

“Further, it must be stated that of the seven judges who are subject of the DSS raids, only one of them previously featured in a petition on alleged corruption to the EFCC.

“Investigation into the petition had reached an advanced stage, when one of the judges got a Federal High Court order to stop further investigation by the Commission.

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“EFCC is still trying to vacate that order for the investigation to proceed unfettered.

“However, Nigerians deserve to know that the nature of professional investigation of financial crimes is highly discrete and not given to theatre.

“The subject usually does not know the Commission is amassing evidences against him or her for several months before the strike.

“Therefore, the notion that a petition is submitted today and the next things that follow are instant arrests, prosecution and convictions are highly misleading.

“In this regard, EFCC is currently investigating eight (8) judges and two (2) court registrars.

“Some of the suspects who have been invited have made useful statements that have been of great assistance to the investigations.

“In due course, those who have cases to answer would be arrested and charged to court,” he signed off.