In its efforts to get to the bottom of the corruption in the judiciary, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday quizzed three Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) for allegedly transferring huge sums of money to judges’ bank accounts.
Their invitation by the anti-graft body is sequel to the recent interrogation of two Federal High Court judges, Justice Agbadu James Fishim and Uwani Abba Aji and another judge of the Industrial Court.
A source close the EFCC disclosed that Paul Usoro, SAN; Chief Gabi Adetola-Kaseem, SAN and Chief Felix Fagbohungbe reported at the Awolowo Road, Ikoyi office of the EFCC to answer questions on huge amounts of money found in some judges’ accounts.
It was gathered that the senior lawyers were still at the EFCC office answering questions from operatives as at the time of filing this report.
The source further disclosed that the Commission has extended invitation to another senior lawyer, Chief Niyi Akintola SAN but he is yet to report to the EFCC office.
Chief Akintola, it was learnt, was in Abuja to defend a Judge before the National Judicial Council (NJC) following a petition written against him by a litigant.
According to the source, the Chairman of the Commission was shocked that prominent senior lawyers with relationship with the EFCC were involved in corruption in the judiciary.
The source stated that the leadership of EFCC invited the senior lawyers following accusations that the Commission was planning to cover-up the activities of these senior lawyers to preserve existing relationship.
The EFCC last week interrogated Justice Fishim and Justice Aji, at its headquarters to answer questions over alleged corruption.
With the interrogation of the Justices Fishim and Aji, the number of judges quizzed by the EFCC has risen to five out of the eight judges on its radar.
“We have discovered that corruption in the judiciary is widespread. Some Senior Advocates of Nigeria who have assisted the Commission in handling some of our cases in the past are involved. Some of these lawyers had assisted us with useful legal opinions on several matters. So, we are in a dilemma,’’ the source stated.
The source also revealed that the Commission had concluded arrangement to force another Federal High Court judge, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, to appear before it after she failed to honour several invitations extended to her.
“If any judge refuses to honour our summons, the EFCC will have no choice than to employ legal process to make him or her respect the law of the land. We have accorded all the judges who came to the EFCC a lot of respect in line with international best practices,” he added.
It would be recalled that Justice Agbadu James Fishim and Justice Uwani Abba Aji, responded to the invitation by the EFCC as they presented themselves before operatives at the Lagos zonal office, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi accompanied by their lawyers.
It was gathered that the two judges gave useful information to the Commission.