… Allow EFCC, ICPC to do their jobs-Group
…Why we raided judges’ homes, says not after CJN nominee, Onnonghen
The Department of State Security Saturday explained the sting operations it carried out on the homes of judges between Friday and Saturday. The agency said it was not after the nominee for Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Nkanu Onnoghen. DSS, at a press conference in Abuja, said it embarked on special sting operations against some judges of the supreme, appeal and high courts based on allegations of corruption.
But a human rights group, Society for Good Governance (SGG), Saturday, accused the DSS of usurping the functions of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent, Corrupt Practices and Other Related Crimes Commission (ICPC). The group accused the President Buhari-led government of starving ICPC of funds in order to frustrate its activities.
“The so called sting operation was not within the purview of DSS but a function that squarely falls on EFCC and ICPC. The whole operation is in furtherance of the islamisation agenda of the country by the Buhari-led government. Justice Ononghen was the target of the operation. Other judges whose homes were raided as claimed by DSS was a diversionary tactic and were to be released later.
“We have it on good authority that President Buhari has ignored the ICPC in terms of funding and attention for the mere reason that the head of ICPC was appointed by President Goodluck Jonathan and had allowed the DSS to take over its job and run amok all over Nigeria.
“The raid was designed to arrest Onnonghen and pave the way for the two other muslim nominees for CJN: Justices Ibrahim Mohammad and Suleiman Galadima. Already all the security agencies are headed by muslims and a Christian CJN would be a stumbling block”, the group said.
Below is a full copy of the press conference:
Good afternoon gentlemen of the Press.
2. The Department of State Services (DSS) in the past few days, has embarked on series of special sting operations involving some Judges of the Supreme, Appeal and High Courts. These operations were based on allegations of corruptions and other acts of professional misconduct by a few of the suspected Judges. The Service action is in line with its core mandate, as we have been monitoring the expensive and luxurious lifestyle of some of the Judges as well as complaints from the concerned public over judgment obtained fraudulently and on the basis amounts of money paid.
3. The judges involved were invited, upon which due diligence was exhibited and their premises searched. The searches have uncovered huge raw cash of various denominations, local and foreign currencies, with real estate worth several millions of Naira and documents affirming unholy acts by these Judges. Meanwhile, some of them have made useful statements while a few have declined even with the glaring evidences that were found against them in terms of material cash, documents and property recovered pointing to their compromise.
4. In one of the States where the Service operations were conducted, credible intelligence revealed that the Judge had Two Million United States Dollars ($2,000,000 USD) stashed in his house. When he was approached for due search to be conducted, he in concert with the State Governor, mobilized thugs against the Service team. The team restrained itself in the face of unbridled provocative activities by those brought in by the Governor. Unfortunately, the Judge and Governor also engaged the tacit support of a sister security agency.
5. The Service surveillance team noticed that upon frustrating the operation, the Judge with the active support of the Governor craftily moved the money to an unknown location which the Service is currently making effort to unravel.
6. Meanwhile, large amount including foreign/local currencies have been recovered. Summaries of these include:
SUMMARY OF RECOVERED MONEY
1. NAIRA – N93,558,000.00
2. DOLLARS – $530,087
3. POUNDS – £25,970
4. EURO – €5,680
7. Other foreign currencies were also recovered. This were recovered from just three (3) of the judges.
8. These in addition to other banking documents, including real estate documents have been recovered. Meanwhile preparations are ongoing to arraign them in a competent court of jurisdiction in line with the laws of the nation.
9. The Service would want to clearly state that it has never invited Justice Walter NKANU ONNOGHEN for investigation, neither is he being investigated by this Service. In addition the Service would like to put it on record, that it has tremendous respect for the Judiciary and would not do anything to undermine it or its activities. The Service will also join hands with this noble institution in its fight to rid it of few corrupt Judges whose actions is undermining not only the Judiciary but the common bond of our national life.
10. Ladies and gentlemen, this current operation will be sustained and followed till sanity and sanctity is restored to the esteemed third arm of government and public confidence is regained.
11. Members of the public are also encouraged to avail the Service of any information which could assist in this drive to rid our nation of corrupt practices and tendencies.