by Isi Esene
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is reported to be investigating five judges; two chief judges and three judges of the Federal High Court, for keeping fat bank accounts.
According to reports, the EFCC has in its possession their statements of account and how the funds were transferred into the said accounts. The judges might soon be invited for questioning to clarify the allegations against them.
A source privy to the case yesterday said, “This investigation has to do with alleged financial crimes committed by the judges, especially issues bordering on suspicious lodgements into their accounts.
“These slush funds were paid over time into their various accounts by litigants and their lobbyists to allegedly influence judgments.
“We have obtained the statements of accounts of the affected judges and our investigation teams have been analyzing ‘curious’ lodgements into the accounts.
“So far, there are appreciable traces of suspicious lodgements in the accounts of these judges. We have requested the banks for further details of the transfer of these funds.”
When asked about the degree of involvement of the National Judicial Council (NJC) in the matter, the source explained that the alleged crimes committed were financial in nature and does not require the commission to obtain the consent of the NJC before conducting investigations.
“We are talking of financial crimes, not judicial matters, which are within the jurisdiction of the EFCC.
“Whatever our findings are the law will take its course. We are likely to arrest the affected judges soon for interrogation,” the source disclosed.
It was learnt that immediately the judges are arrested, they might be suspended by the NJC pending the conclusion of their trial. If eventually found guilty, the NJC reserves the right to recommend the removal from office of the affected judges by invoking Section 292 (1) of the 1999 Constitution.