Why the minister of justice directed judges’ arrest; shunned EFCC

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– The raid on judges by the DSS has strained relationship between the EFCC and the ministry of justice

– The EFCC was accused of failing to act on previous petitions against the suspected judges

– The anti-graft agency insists in was investigating the judges but the DSS raid has affected it

New details have emerged concerning the raid and arrest of some judges by operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS) and how the minister of justice side-lined the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Many critics against the arrest of the judges which occoured in the early hours of Saturday, October 8 have cited that even if the judges were suspected of corruption, the EFCC should have been alerted rather than the DSS.

READ ALSO: AGF list 6 suspected corrupt judges to be probed

The judges arrested were Sylvester Ngwuta and Inyang Okoro of the Supreme Court, Justice Mohammed Tsamiya; Justice Kabiru Auta of the Kano State High Court and Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja, Justice I. A. Umezulike, and Muazu Pindiga of the Federal High Court, Gombe Division.

The Punch however reports that the Abubakar Malami-led Ministry of Justice moved to the DSS for help after the EFCC failed to act on previous petitions.

It was also revealed that relationship between the justice ministry and the EFCC was tensed as the latter failed to investigate and prosecute the suspected judges.

A government source who spoke on the condition of anonymity revealed that there was a petition submitted to the EFCC after the withdrawal of N11bn from the Rivers state government’s account between October 2015 and February 2016.

Malami who is also the attorney general of the federation had petitioned the EFCC to investigate the suspicious withdrawal in March but it seemed the anti-graft agency failed to act on it.

The source said: “From all indications, because of the EFCC’s seeming inaction on some of these cases, the ministry of justice has now resorted to forwarding the petitions to the DSS.  Obviously the EFCC is not happy with this.”

The Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill sent by President Muhammadu Buhari through the attorney general was also not well accepted by the EFCC as it felt “it is not advisable to pass the bill into law.”

It was revealed on Wednesday, October 12 that the EFCC claimed it was already investigating some of the judges.

The EFCC was also against the takeover of some of its investigation against the judges especially those who have helped in the trial against corrupt persons.

“The point of disagreement came from the investigation into the petitions. While the EFCC thought that the DSS should steer clear of the petitions because it had already worked on them, the service and the Federal Ministry of Justice insisted that the commission was slow in its investigations.”

An EFCC source claimed the DSS operation disrupted the on-going investigation in the anti-graft agency and also alerted other corrupt judges.

“It is a DSS operation. The EFCC is not involved. The raids carried out on the judges’ residents have affected our ongoing investigation into the activities of some of the judges.

“What this has done is that they have alerted those suspected judges. With what they have done, they have alerted them to be careful.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju who is the chairman of the Civil Society Network Against Corruption confirmed that petitions had been submitted to the EFCC against the judges.

“We sent the petitions to the EFCC and in fact, the anti-graft agency commenced investigation.

READ ALSO: More judges to be probed for corruption

“They found evidence against one or two of the judges, but it was obvious that they could not proceed against the suspected judges.”

Mr. Wilson Uwujaren who is the head of media of the EFCC said it received petitions from the group but said they were only treated with merit.

“I don’t know some of the judges under reference. But suffice it to say that the commission has over the years received petitions from CSNAC covering several sectors and issues.

“All received attention based on merit as every petition to the commission do.”

Meanwhile, an emerging report suggests that one of the seven judges arrested by the DSS admitted to being a part of the controversial N500m bribery scandal.

The judge had refused to unlock the safe in his house for DSS operatives to have access to its contents.
The DSS, however, plans to take possession of the safe to uncover its contents, a source told The Nation.

The post Why the minister of justice directed judges’ arrest; shunned EFCC appeared first on Nigeria News today & Breaking news | Read Naij.com 24/7.

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