Corrupt judges to face trial —FG

Posted by News Express | 20 January 2016 | 3,715 times

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Mallam Abubakar Malami (SAN), the Attorney-General of the Federation, said on Tuesday that judicial officers would not be spared in the anti-graft war of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

“Let no one be in doubt that the legitimate expectations of Nigerians shall be met.

“In this regard, I am reiterating that the fight against corruption shall be total and will not exclude judicial officers.”

Malami spoke at the launch of a report entitled, ‘Go Home and Sin No More; Corrupt Judges Escaping from Justice in Nigeria.’

The 76-page report is authored by a rights advocacy group -- the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).

The minister was, however, represented by the Special Adviser on White Collar Crimes, Mr Abiodun Aikhomu.

He noted that systemic corruption and impunity had become prevalent in Nigeria with all the sectors, including the judiciary already infected.

Malami said none of the judges removed for “acts unbecoming of judicial officers” on the recommendations of the National Judicial Commission (NJC) had been prosecuted so far.

“As we may be aware, this administration promised Nigerians that it will promptly address the challenges facing our nation in the areas of corruption, economy and security.

“After all, it is beyond doubt that a corrupt judge cannot meaningfully contribute to the fight against corruption.

“Acts of judicial impunity will also not be condoned so that our judges can be judicially accountable at all times in a corruption-free judiciary which is both independent and impartial.

“All these shall be achieved together with partners like SERAP without violating the fundamental human rights of the persons involved and in line with the rule of law and international best practices.”

Malami promised that his office would ensure that every ‘appearance of corruption’ in the judiciary was dealt with through criminal prosecution and forfeiture of property to the state.

Also speaking, the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade, said there was need to further the cause of justice through a more transparent judicial system in the country.

Atilade, who was also represented by the Deputy Chief Registrar, Legal, Mrs Busola Okunuga, described corruption as an endemic malaise which has eaten deep into the fabric of the Nigerian society.

“The bar and the bench have a collective duty to ensure that the wheel of justice runs at all times smoothly.

“A transparent judiciary not only attracts investors to the country, but also builds public confidence in the justice system.”

Earlier in his address of welcome, the Executive Director of SERAP, Mr Adetokunbo Mumuni, said that lack of accountability in the judiciary had impeded efforts to fight corruption at the highest level of government.

Among other recommendations, Mumuni, called on the Chief Justice of the Federation and the NJC to urgently refer all cases of judicial corruption to the appropriate anti- corruption agencies.

He said: “We want EFCC to proactively and robustly use their statutory powers to investigate and prosecute judicial corruption.

“They should also request from the NJC files on cases of corrupt judges for prosecution.

“The AGF should direct the Director of Public Prosecutions to examine critically the cases of corrupt judges that have so far been sanctioned by the NJC.”

Mumuni said the list of indicted corrupt judges should be sent to the anti-corruption agencies for appropriate action. (NAN)

•Photo shows AGF, Abubakar Malami (SAN). 

Source: News Express

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