NJC probes 25 judges indicted by EFCC, retires one

Twenty-five judges accused of corrupt practices by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are to be investigated by the National Judicial Council (NJC).

The affected judges are to be probed by seven committees already set up by the apex judiciary body.

The NJC has also recommended the compulsory retirement of Justice Michael Goji of the Adamawa State High Court to Governor Bindo Umaru Jibrilla.

In a press release issued on Thursday by the Director of Information, Mr. Soji Oye, the NJC said that Justice Goji’s recommendation for compulsory retirement was due to his refusal to proceed on a transfer to the Mubi Judicial Division of the State High Court since July 2017.

Oye said: “Aside from the recommendation for compulsory retirement, Council also directed that he should refund all salaries received by him from July, 2017 till date, failing which the Adamawa State Government is to deduct the amount from any entitlement due to him and remit same to the National Judicial Council which pays salaries of all Judicial Officers in the Federation.

The disciplinary action was taken at the Council’s 86th meeting which was held under the chairmanship of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen on May 8 and 9, 2018.

However, the NJC considered the reports of various investigation committees and dismissed petitions written against Hon. Mr. Justice Paul Adamu Galinje of the Supreme Court, Hon. Mr. Justice Aminu Sabo Ringim, Chief Judge, Jigawa State, and Hon. Mr. Justice Peter Umeadi, Chief Judge, Enugu State.

Meanwhile, the statement added that “petitions written against 25 judicial officers and others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) were also considered by Council after which it resolved to empanel seven committees to look into the allegations.

“Petitions against various judges were dismissed for lack of establishment of misconduct, being subjudice or that such petitions were matters for appeal. The dismissed petitions were against Justices A. I. Chikere and J. T Tsoho, Emeka Nwite and Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Justice Adetokunbo Banjoko of FCT High Court, Justice Taminu Zailani, Chief Judge, Kaduna, Justice M. A. Adeigbe, High Court, Osun State (who had already retired from the Bench), and Justice E. N. Ogbuiji, High Court, Rivers State.

“Council at the meeting also recommended 21 judges for appointment as Chief Judges, Grand Kadi, High Court Judges, Sharia Court Kadis, President, Customary Court of Appeal, and one member, Code of Conduct Tribunal.

“Council also received the Report of the Performance Evaluation Committee of Judicial Officers of Superior Courts of Record in the Federation on 16 judges invited by the Committee to explain their low performance in the last two to four quarters in the year 2017.”

ICPC arraigns ex- IG, Ehindero, for N16.4m fraud

Meanwhile, the Independent Corruption Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has re-arraigned former Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Sunday Ehindero, and former Commissioner of Police, John Obaniyi, for an alleged N16.4 million fraud.

The defendants are standing trial before a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Apo, on a five-count charge bordering on fraud and conspiracy.

The prosecutor, Mr. O.G. Iwuagwu, told the court that the defendants committed the offences between May 2006 and November 2006.

He said that the defendants conspired and used their positions to place N500million in two fix deposit accounts.

Iwuagwu said that the money was part of N557,995,065 donated by the Bayelsa State government to the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) for the purchase of arms and ammunition

The prosecutor said that the N500 million placed in fixed deposits yielded N16.4 million interest.

When the charges were read, the defendants denied committing the offences.

The counsel to the defendants, Kenneth Omoruan and E .O. Tela prayed the court to allow the bail granted to the defendants when they were first arraigned to continue.

Justice Sylvanus Oriji told counsel to both defendants to transfer the bail documents to the court.

In the alternative, he granted them bail in the sum of N10million each and two sureties each in like sum.

He said that the sureties must be civil servants on grade level 14 and reside in the FCT.

The case was adjourned until June 19, and 26 for hearing.

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