- NJC, EFCC, SSS, monitor bank accounts, lifestyle
Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, has directed a joint team comprising of National Judicial Council, NJC, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and States Security Service, DSS, to beam their searchlight on the personal accounts of some judges serving as chairmen and members of election petition tribunals across the country.
The directive, according to a highly placed source at the NJC, was intended to checkmate judges serving in the tribunal and ensure that they have not been compromised indulge in corrupt practices.
The source, who confided in Nigerian Pilot Saturday, hinted that the CJN made the decision alongside the two security agencies apart from the present government’s quest to root out corruption and restore confidence in system.
According to the source, the EFCC through the department of Financial Intelligence has already placed bank accounts of judges handling various election petition cases across the country under watch.
Besides the judges, it was also gathered that all their family members and their friends have also been placed under surveillance in order to ensure that politicians whose cases are currently being handled by the judges, are not compromised in any form through their friends and family members.
The source further disclosed that the need to watch the accounts and movements of the judges was to forestall allegation of bribery and corruption in the discharge of their duties.
Already, he said that all the private and official accounts of the judges had been placed under “red alert,” following the allegations that some highly placed politicians were already moving cash round with the aim of buying the judges over.
He said that the recent ban on lodgment of dollars by individuals was also part of the aims of check-mating the politicians, who, he said, were moving foreign currencies around with the aim of inducing the judges.
The source said a particularly governor was actually being “seriously watched because of security reports around him which showed that he had been moving about with lots of cash in foreign currencies.”
According to him, “Well, we have it on good authority that some politicians were planning to induce the judges with money in order for them to either get favourable judgments or frustrate the dispense of justice. We are aware that our judges are of sound character, but we are also not unmindful of the fact that there could be some bad eggs among them.
“Therefore, we have placed the judges under serious security watch and have placed their bank accounts under surveillance. We are doing this in order to help the system and help the National Judicial Council to sanitise the system. This present government has zero tolerance for corruption in whatever level.”
The source said while the NJC could be saddled with the responsibility of sacking any judge found wanting in the judicial system, he nevertheless added that the security agencies would provide details of alleged transactions in order to prosecute any erring judge.
“The idea of just dismissing any erring judge based on allegation of corruption is over. Apart from dismissing you, if found wanting, we will also prosecute you to serve as a deterrent to others,” the security agent added
He also said politicians and lawyers found to be involved in any attempt aimed at bribing any judge would equally be prosecuted.
Efforts made to get the reaction of the NJC on this failed yesterday, as calls made to the telephone number of its acting Director of Information, Mr. Soji Oye, did not go through.
Oye was said to have travelled abroad.