We are probing 8 judges, 3 registrars —EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Thursday, said it was probing eight judges and three court registrars.

In a statement, its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, disclosed that they had been quizzed and those with prima facie case against them, would be arrested soon and charged to court.

It also explained why the commission was supposedly by-passed by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, in investigating petitions against some judges.

The AGF had sent the petitions received by his office, directly to the Department of State Security Service (DSS).

The statement read: “The attention of the EFCC has been drawn to a story in the Thursday, October 13 edition of a newspaper, headlined, “Why AGF shuns EFCC, Sends Judges’ Cases to DSS.” The story, quoting some unnamed sources, tried to drive wedges between the commission and the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) on the one hand and the commission and the Department of State Services (DSS) on the other.

“It alleges, among others, that the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, frustrated by the alleged tardiness of the EFCC in handling petitions forwarded to it, now sends the same cases to the DSS.

“EFCC wishes to put on record that there is no friction with the office of the AGF and the commission is not involved in inter-agency squabbles with the DSS. Indeed, the commission, along with the DSS, ICPC, Police and the office of the AGF, is a member of a technical committee that meets at the highest level of government to collaborate and coordinate strategies against corruption. The last of such meeting was as recently as today.

“Furthermore, it must be stated that of the seven judges who are subject of the DSS raids, only one of them previously featured in a petition on alleged corruption to the EFCC. Investigation into the petition had reached an advanced stage, when one of the judges got a Federal High Court order to stop further investigation by the commission. EFCC is still trying to vacate that order for the investigation to proceed unfettered.

“However, Nigerians deserve to know that the nature of professional investigation of financial crimes is highly discrete and not given to theatre. The subject usually does not know the commission is amassing evidences against him or her for several months before the strike. Therefore, the notion that a petition is submitted today and the next things that follow are instant arrests, prosecution and convictions is highly misleading.

“In this regard, EFCC is currently investigating eight judges and two court registrars. Some of the suspects who have been invited have made useful statements that have been of great assistance to the investigations. In due course, those who have cases to answer would be arrested and charged to court.”