Presidential Committee Asks NJC To Suspend Corrupt Judges

PACAC Chiarman, Prof. Itse Sagey
PACAC Chiarman, Prof. Itse Sagey

The Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC, has called on the National Judicial Council, NJC, to suspend the Judges that have been indicted of corruption by the Department of State Services, DSS, until they have cleared their names.

Executive Secretary of the Committee, Bolaji Owasanoye, a professor, made this known on Monday during an interactive session with newsmen in Abuja, at the presentation of the Committee’s August 2015 to July 2016 report.

Owasanoye was of the opinion that the Judges should no longer be allowed to preside over cases in court, adding that the honorable thing to do is for the NJC to give the Judges the opportunity to defend themselves.

He said: “The reason is because all over the world, if a Judge is appearing before another court on criminal charges, all cases before him should be shut.”

Also, Chairman of the Committee, Itse Sagey pointed out that corrupt Judges portends great danger for the society as they have the power of “life and death.”

“Any judge who is corrupt is committing a crime against humanity. He destroys our confidence on the State; it encourages people to resort to self-help,” Sagey said.

“If an issue comes up, the judge is the ultimate.

“There are some governors who did not win election, yet judges gave vent to that. If the judiciary is corrupt, it is the only body that has the power of life and death over Nigerians.”

“We need the judiciary, we need an upright judiciary. If we don’t put the judiciary right, a judiciary with moral authority, then we have no government,” he added.

He maintained that the moral authority of some Supreme Court judges have crashed, adding that “When a judge is corrupt he should be treated like one of us.”

On the Committee’s report, the Executive Secretary, Owasanoye said it interacted with several anti-corruption agencies including other relevant agencies of government.

He said the interactions and consultations focused on proceeds of corruption, assets recovery, reopening of inconclusive or high profile cases like the Halliburton case.

Also the Committee embarked on workshops for the implementation of the Criminal Justice Act covering 84 Federal high Courts, 20 FCT High Judges, 72 Judges from all 36 states of the Federation and 40 magistrates from Lagos and FCT.

Owasanoye added that the workshop focused on Interlocutory Applications, Bail and Stay of Proceedings, the Trial Process and Powers of Anti-Corruption Agencies, Asset Recovery for National Development and Integrity and Ethics in Criminal Justice Administration.






     

     

    He revealed the establishment of a Presidential Committee on Asset Recovery, adding that committee had developed a framework for Management and Administration of Recovered Stolen Assets.

    The committee also lamented the current judicial system which allows suspects to use proceeds of corruption to fight the state which has limited fund to pay expensive legal fees.

    He said all assets found to have been tainted by stolen public fund should be frozen until the determination of a court.

    The PACAC also decried the use of Nigeria’s fault lines in countering the fight against corruption which sometimes includes religious, ethnic and religious divides amongst others.

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