Nigerian govt fails to arraign senior judge accused of corruption.

The Federal Government on Monday failed to arraign a judge of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, Adeniyi Ademola.

 

The office of the Attorney General had planned to arraign Mr. Ademola at a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory on Monday, but failed to do so because the judge was yet to be served with the originating summons for his trial.

 

Mr. Ademola, alongside his wife, Olubowale, is facing a 15-count charge of alleged fraud and abuse of office.

 

He is among the seven judges whose homes were raided by operatives of the State Security Service on October 7.

 

Counsel to the Federal Government, Segun Jegede, told the trial judge, Jude Okeke, that the summons for the trial had not been served to the defendants.

 

He applied for leave of court to pass the originating summons to the defendants through their lawyer.

 

The application was granted and the case was adjourned till December 13.

Corruption: FG okays trial of Justices Okoro, Ademola, others.

The Federal Government on Wednesday shunned the National Judiciary Council and pressed ahead with its decision to bring the seven suspected corrupt judges to justice.

The seven are among the 15 already identified by the Department of State Services and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, but the other eight are yet to be named and invited for questioning.

The NJC, which claimed to have omnibus powers over both criminal and administrative matters relating to judges in Nigeria, last week disregarded the Presidency’s directive to suspend the suspected corrupt judicial officers from duty, pending the trial and disposal of the criminal allegations levelled against them.

Rather than comply with the Presidency’s order, the NJC slammed the DSS for daring to search the homes of the judges in the night and making away with huge cash in local and foreign currencies.

Although none of the suspects denied keeping the huge cash in their homes, the NJC was silent on the propriety of the discovery of the money in the homes of the judges, but disparaged the DSS for the raid, which it claimed was intended to cow the judges from doing their jobs.

In a brazen move to get at both the NJC and the suspects, who have tried to blame key ministers in President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for their ordeal, the Federal Government on Wednesday formally approved the prosecution of the suspects with immediate effect.

A top Presidency official confirmed to Vanguard that the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, had approved the immediate prosecution of the suspects so as not to give the erroneous impression that government was promoting corruption.

The top source said the trial of the suspects would be carried out in phases and handled by the National Prosecution Council, which was recently inaugurated.

The source said the refusal of the NJC to suspend the suspected judges was interpreted as a “slap” on the Presidency and that no country would allow a few people to constitute themselves into a cabal that is “above the law”.

Asked to disclose the nature of the charges to be preferred against the judges, the official said: “The charges are generally for corruption, with an isolated case of illegal possession of firearms to be pressed against one of the judges.”

The firearms were recovered from the home of one of the suspects by the DSS during the nocturnal raid on October 7, a development that had sparked national outrage.

Giving further insight into the trial, the source hinted: “I can tell you that the National Prosecution Council will lead the prosecution of the suspects, while the Director of Public Prosecution in the Federal Ministry of Justice will coordinate the team.

“The charges were cleared from the OHAGF only yesterday and the suspects are certainly going to be charged to court any moment from now.

“The Federal Government is not deterred by the refusal of the NJC to suspend the suspects from office.”

Efforts to speak with Malami, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, proved abortive, as he was said to be outside Nigeria.

None of his officials claimed knowledge of the approval of the charges against the suspected judges.

It will be recalled that the DSS had launched a sting operation in the homes of the judges on the night of October 7, 2016, recovering local and foreign currencies worth N360 million.

Two of the judges are from the Supreme Court, while the rest sit in Federal and State High Courts.

While Justice John Inyang Okoro of the Supreme Court claimed on Tuesday that the $38,000 found in his home was his estacode, he did not say how the over N3 million cash was left in his home and not the bank.

On the other hand, Justices Ademola Adeniyi and Nnamdi Dimgba have blamed their ordeal in the hands of the DSS on Malami over certain court verdicts they claimed they gave against him in the past.

Nonetheless, the allegations against Malami were not mentioned to anyone until the raids on their homes by the DSS.

Accused of corruption, Justice Ademola resumes sitting at Federal High Court

Two judges of the Federal High Court, Abuja, whose homes were raided by operatives of the State Security Service for alleged corruption have resumed sitting days after the National Judicial Council, NJC, described the raid as illegal.

The judges, Adeniyi Ademola and Nnamdi Dimgba, presided over court sessions for cases slated to continue on Monday by their various courts.

While Mr. Ademola and six other judges were arrested after the raids, Mr. Dimgba was not.

The SSS said it arrested the seven judges across the nation after petitions bothering on allegations of fraud were made against them and neglected by the NJC. The agency said it had enough evidence to prosecute the judges for corruption.

The security service also alleged that it recovered tens of thousands of dollars and millions of naira from Mr. Ademola’s residence.

Mr. Ademola’s arrest was the most dramatic as he locked himself in a room and told his aides to lie he was not at home, multiple sources including those close to the judge told PREMIUM TIMES.

Knowing the claim was false, the SSS broke down Mr. Ademola’s doors to arrest him.

I’M BEING PERSECUTED

in his reaction to the allegations, Mr. Ademola said he was forced to attest to the alleged discoveries at gun point.

He alleged that the search conducted at his residence and his subsequent arrest were meant to punish him for rulings he had given in favour of former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, and leader of the Indigenous people of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, against the wish of the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.

Mr. Ademola also mentioned an old score he said he had with Mr. Malami as a reason for his arrest.

The NJC had also denied reports by the SSS that petitions written against the seven judges were neglected.

In its reaction to the matter, the NJC detailed its findings on the activities of the SSS relating to the judges. The council said only two separate complaints had come from the SSS regarding two of the judges.

The judges whose homes were raided include, Messrs. Dimgba and Ademola, both of the Federal High Court Abuja; Justices John Okoro and Sylvester Nguta of the Supreme Court; Muazu Pindiga of Gombe; Kabiru Auta of Kano High Court; Innocent Okoro, outgoing Enugu State Chief Judge; as well as Mohammed Tsamiya, an appeal court judge in Ilorin.

Responding to issues arising from the raid, Mr. Malami said the SSS was merely discharging its constitutional function of investigation. He said corruption is a threat to the security of any nation.
Over one week after the raids and arrests, the SSS is yet to file charges against the affected judges.