EFCC Moves To Arraign 5 More Judges

All is set for the trial of at least five more judges by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The commission has concluded investigation on the judges.

There were indications that cases being handled by the judges before their travails might be reassigned.

The details were being worked out by the Federal High Court and the National Industrial Court (NIC).

Also, it was learnt that the EFCC has seized the passport of a Commissioner of Police, Mr. Victor Onofiok who has been detained in connection with alleged N1.9billion fraud.

According to investigation, out of the six judges under probe by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), only Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia was arraigned last week.

The others awaiting conclusion of investigation and trial are Justices Mohammed Nasir Yunusa; Hyeladzira Ajiya Nganjiwa; Musa Haruna Kurya; Agbadu James Fishim; and Uwani Abba Aji.

A top source at the commission, who spoke in confidence last night, said: “We have concluded investigation on all the judges implicated in some bribery scandals. We are already preferring charges against them.

“Five of them will soon be arraigned in court. In fact, some of the lawyers who abetted such bribe offers had been interrogated too with evidence extracted from them. Two of the lawyers are presently on trial.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “Relevant desks are vetting the charges against these judges for filing.”

The EFCC had filed 27 charges against a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Rickey Tarfa for allegedly bribing two judges with N2,335,000.

The affected judges are Justice Mohammed Nasir Yunusa and Justice Nganjiwa Hyeladzira.

It has also listed eight witnesses against the embattled SAN. But another SAN, Dr. Joseph Nwobike is also in trouble for giving N1,050,000 bribe to the same judges.

All the charges were filed against the two SANs by an Assistant Detective Commander, Mr. G.O. Adebola before the Lagos State High Court. The SANs are presently on trial in Lagos. The latest lawyer on trial is Godwin Obla (SAN) who was arraigned last week with Justice Ajumogobia.

Findings however confirmed that the cases before the troubled judges will be reassigned to their colleagues in order to protect the interest of litigants.

It was learnt that the leadership of the Federal High Court and the National Industrial Court had been working on the details.

Another source said: “In line with the directive of the National Judicial Council, the judges have stayed away from sitting but they are still receiving salaries pending the outcome of their trial.

“The only challenge facing the leadership of the Federal High Court and the NIC is how to manage the cases these judges had been handling. There is no way litigants can wait till the trial of these judges is concluded before getting justice.

“We may reassign their cases to other judges. But some of these cases might start afresh especially those at the judgment stage.”

Meanwhile, the EFCC has seized the passport of the detained Commissioner of Police, Onofiok.

The suspect, who is the CP for Works Department at the Force Headquarters, was detained in connection with an ongoing investigation for alleged N1.9billion fraud.

A source in EFCC said: “The travelling passport of the CP has been seized. Detectives are also screening some accounts belonging to him and some of the slush companies linked to the CP.

“The companies include: Dutse Allah Construction Ventures; Nne-Edak Technical Ventures; Puristic Adherent Company; Quality Watch Construction Company and Faksene International.”

A police source said: “Some senior and junior police officers were not surprised about the arrest of the CP Works because he had been warned before against some of his conduct in office.

“We hope the EFCC will do a thorough job like the case with the ex-IGP Tafa Balogun.”

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