THE BENCH AND THE BAR; CLOGGING THE WHEEL OF THE ANTI-CORRUPTION DRIVE

The Executive Chairman of the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran has condemned the roles of some Judges, Lawyers and other practitioners in the Nigerian Judicial system, describing them as clogs in the wheel of progress of the anti-corruption war.
 
“It has become pertinent to highlight the negative roles of some abettors and aiders of corruption in the law profession are playing in frustrating the progress of the anti-corruption drive for pecuniary gains at the expense of the consequences of sharp practices to the country economically and morally.”Adeniran affirmed
 
According to the anti-corruption Crusader, there are many examples that have persistently shown that aiding and abetting roles are played by Lawyers and Judges in the anti-corruption drive. He said “an example is the Rickey Tarfa episode. According to news reports, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, in a counter-affidavit to a suit filed by Rickey Tarfa to challenge his alleged unlawful arrest and detention by the EFCC on February 5, 2016 for hiding two suspects of financial crimes in his Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) and thereby willfully obstructing the arrest of the suspects. An operative of the EFCC stated in the affidavit that a check carried out into the Access Bank account of Tarfa’s Law firm revealed that a sum of N225, 000 was sent to Justice Mohammed Yunusa’s Bank account, a transaction the Judge acknowledged with appreciation through a text message which said ‘Thank you, my senior advocate’.”
“In this same country, we have witnessed a show that featured 90 Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) queuing behind a colleague of theirs, the same Rickey Tarka with his very disgusting corruption baggage to appear in court. It speaks volumes about the level of immorality and rot in the system. Even, the presiding Judge in the case described the appearance of the SANs as ‘’tantamount to harassment and intimidation.’’ Mr. Adeniran added
The CACOL leader asserted that it is hypocritical to continue to hold on the position that the Judiciary is infallible and impervious to the monster called corruption as an arm of government. “The Judicial sector is arguably the most complicit in frustrating the anti-corruption drive. How do we situate the case of Joshua Dariye, a former governor of Plateau state within the ambit of logical reasoning?” Adeniran asked.
 
“The Dariye case represents a national shame given that the decision to resurrect and investigate Dariye was informed by a request by the London Metropolitan Police after 9 years. 9 years to start trial denote that the Nigerian Judicial system is laughable. If an accused could legally manipulate the system for 9 years before the trial even begins, it means there is no deterrent to corruption. This is somebody  who singlehandedly collected N1.126 billion naira on behalf of the state and diverted it to his private account and then directed the bank manager on how to distribute it” he added
 
Continuing, he said, “you see a situation where corruption criminals via their stupendous ill gotten wealth simply hire the services of SANs to help them wriggle through judicial trials to escape conviction for very glaring sharp practices. The suspected criminals simply enlist the services of crooked lawyers and officials to influence Judges presiding over their cases of corruption. That is why we see suspected corruption criminals running to court to take advantage of the gaps in our laws to escape justice. Given the loots in their possessions, they consciously plan with the aiders and abettors in the Justice sector to design escape routes for themselves at incredibly humongous costs that only those that have corruptly enriched themselves can afford. This is sad, very condemnable and must be stopped for the progress of the country.”
 
In concluding, Adeniran called on the Judiciary as whole to cleanse the system, using its internal mechanisms of corrupt practitioners in the sector. “The onus lies on the Nigeria Judicial Council, NJC, the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA and other gate-keepers in the sector to pick up the gauntlet to rid the law profession of the bad eggs who are brazenly bringing the hard earned reputation and the ‘above board’ character associated with the Judiciary to disrepute. Practitioners found to have erred must be made to face the wrath of the law to deter others. We commend the practitioners in the law profession who in spite of tempting inducements have refused to trade away their consciences and their country.”
 
 
Wale Salami
Media Coordinator, CACOL
08141121208
July 15, 2016
 
 
 
 
 
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