The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is set to charge suspended Federal High Court judge, Justice Mohammed Yunusa, who the National Judicial Commission recently recommended for retirement. The EFCC had, in February, lodged a complaint of alleged misconduct against Yunusa before the NJC.
According to PunchNg report, Yunusa first became the subject of an EFCC investigation when the commission was investigating a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Rickey Tarfa, who is on trial for allegedly offering gratification to a public official.
The EFCC also stated that from its investigations, Tarfa’s law firm, Rickey Tarfa & Co., with Access Bank account number 0000964760, paid N225,000 into Justice Yunusa’s bank account.
The commission had further alleged that “the N225, 000 was accepted and acknowledged by Justice Yunusa in a text message to Tarfa wherein he said, “Thank you my senior advocate.”
However, Tarfa stated in an affidavit he filed before a Federal High Court in Lagos, that the money was a contribution by some friends of Justice Yunusa towards the funeral rites of his father-in-law, Audi Damasa.
Apart from the Tarfa case, the NJC also received two petitions against the judge in respect of some matters – Honeywell v ECOBANK and Sterling Bank v Joma Frozen Foods Product Limited.
The judge was also reportedly sanctioned for his decision to grant an interlocutory injunction stopping the EFCC from investigating and arresting Senator Stella Oduah, a former Minister of Aviation, who was accused of embezzlement of public funds and acts of fraud in contracts.
In a petition by Civil Society Network Against Corruption, the group accused the judge of consistent refusal to abide by judicial precedents laid down by the apex court in granting orders and injunctions against the EFCC.
It listed some of the cases concerned as FHC/L/CS/1471/2015 Mr. Simon John Adonmene & 3ors v the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission filed on September 21, 2015; FHC/L/CS/487/14 – FRN v. Michael Adenuga; FHC/L/CS/1342/15. Senator Stella Oduah v. AG Federation, EFCC, ICPC and IGP; FHC/L/CS/1285/15 – Jyde Adelakun & Anor v. Chairman, EFCC & Anor; FHC/L/CS/1445/15 – Dr. Martins Oluwafemi Thomas v. EFCC; FHC/L/CS/1269/15 – Honourable Shamsudeen Abogu v. EFCC & Ors; and FHC/L/CS/1012/15 – Hon. Teeth Dauzia Loya v. EFCC.
A reliable source at the anti-graft agency hailed the decision of the NJC recommending Yunusa for retirement.
A detective, who did not want his name in print said, “We are already prosecuting Tarfa for bribing a judge. It therefore follows that the judge must be prosecuted for allegedly receiving a bribe.
“Now that the judge has been retired, we will have the freedom to even carry out further investigations and look into some of the cases that he handled. We might even reopen some of the cases that he threw out.
“It will also boost our case against Tarfa, which is currently in court. This is a welcome development and a victory for the anti-graft war.”
The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), said the prosecution of the judge, after his manner of retirement, was expected.
Sagay said it was within the power of the EFCC to investigate the judge for the other petitions written against him.
“Yes, the EFCC is competent to investigate the judge further as it sees fit,” the senior advocate added.