FG’s Prosecution Team To Meet Over Charges Against Judges
The Federal Government’s National Prosecution Coordination Committee is meeting over the draft charges already drawn against three among the seven judges arrested by the Department of State Services between October 8 and 9 this year.
According to PUNCH, the charges were likely to be filed next week after the meeting of the committee members, a credible source who is familiar with the ongoing process.
They had reported that the draft charges were originally meant to be filed last Thursday. But a source confirmed on Friday that the filing was delayed because of the absence of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, who was on an official trip to Turkey.
The source said, “The NPCC has actually finished the drafting of the charges.
“They would have been filed on Thursday if not for the absence of the Attorney-General of the Federation.
“The AGF said he wanted to see the charges before they were filed.”
It was learnt that the AGF arrived the country on Thursday but only resumed official duties on Friday.
A top source in the Federal Ministry of Justice said the AGF on Friday directed that further meeting be held on the draft charges before filing.
According to other sources and a member of the NPCC, the meeting of the NPCC might hold on Saturday.
Our correspondent learnt that the Federal Government had drafted charges against three of the seven arrested judges.
It was learnt earlier on Wednesday that the drafting of the charges would be concluded and ready for filing on Thursday.
It was gathered that drafting of the charges involved the input of members of the NPCC, legal and operational officers of the Department of State Service and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation.
One of those involved in the drafting had told our correspondent on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to make comments on the issue, that three of the arrested judges would likely be charged with money laundering on Thursday.
The source said the three judges already marked for prosecution would be charged separately.
He added, “Apart from money laundering, the three judges would also face other charges depending on the peculiarities of the individuals’ cases and outcome of investigation.”
When asked before which court the judges would be charged, the source said, “Going by the nature of the charges we want to file, the only court with the requisite jurisdiction is the Federal High Court.”
A member of the NPCC, as earlier reported, had confided in our correspondent that the Federal Government, through the NPCC had established prima facie cases against the judges.
The source explained that the government had through investigation obtained more evidence that was not envisaged at the outset.
The source said, “The truth of the matter is that the arrests carried out have led to more evidence and the Federal Government, through the NPCC, is drafting the charges to be filed against the judges.
“But I can assure you that we have got prima facie cases against the judges.
“Investigations, which are still ongoing, have revealed a lot of evidence that was not envisaged at the outset.
“The available evidence will determine the charges to be filed and in which court to file them.”
The source said despite the condemnation of the arrest of the judges by the National Judicial Council, the government would proceed with the prosecution of the judges.
The DSS had between October 8 and 9 raided the houses of the seven judges and arrested them. They have since been released on bail.
When contacted, spokesperson for NPCC and for the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Salihu Isah, said he would not comment on the case due to its sensitivity.
The arrested judges were Justice Sylvester Ngwuta and John Okoro, both of the Supreme Court; Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja, and Justice Muazu Pindiga of the Gombe State High Court.
Others who were arrested had been placed on suspension by the National Judicial Council pending the time President Buhari and their various state governors would approve its recommendation for their sacking.
They are a former Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice I. A. Umezulike, the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division, Justice Mohammed Tsamiya; and the judge of the Kano State High Court, Justice Kabiru Auta.
The DSS later said after the raid that it recovered large sums of money in both local and foreign currencies from the homes of three of the seven judges.
ENJOY FREE CONTENTS FROM US
IN YOUR EMAIL
Breaking News, Events, Music & More
Thank you for subscribing.
Something went wrong.