NIGERIA TODAY: Fresh trouble for corrupt Judges; EFCC nabs APC legal adviser
National Legal Adviser of All Progressives Congress, APC, Dr. Muiz Adeyemi Banire, has offered to step aside, pending the conclusion of investigation into the allegation of his involvement in bribery of some judges.
Recall that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is currently investigation Banire for allegedly assisting a juge of the national Industrial Court with N500,000, an allegation he had since denied. But Banire, in a letter to the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, personally signed by him, also communicated his decision to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), offering to also step aside as member of Electoral Reform.
The APC Legal Adviser in the letter, titled Offer to Step Aside as National Legal Adviser Pending Conclusion of Investigation of My Person by the EFCC, also copied President, Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
The letter read: “On Saturday, the 29th day of October, 2016, I read online, a publication titled “APC National Legal Adviser, Muiz Banire, Allegedly paid Federal Judge =N=500k”. I was not only shocked by the purport of the publication against my person, but extremely disturbed by its negative propagandist effect on our Party, the Government it leads at the Federal level, and, above all, our signature programme of anti-corruption in public life.
“I, therefore, immediately on the same day, wrote a letter which was delivered to, and acknowledged by the EFCC on Monday, the 31st day of October, 2016, submitting myself to investigation on the allegation, and offering to visit the EFCC offices in Lagos on Tuesday, the 1st day of November, 2016 to be interrogated as part of that investigation. A copy of the said letter of request is enclosed herewith. Ostensibly, due to the constraints of its heavy work schedule, my request to attend the EFCC to be interrogated on the allegation did not receive attention until Thursday, the 3rd day of November, 2016. “The allegation, as I have come to understand it, is that a Statement of Account of one Judge of the National Industrial Court, the Honourable Justice J. T. Agbadu-Fishim, who is the subject of an ongoing EFCC’s investigation, contained a June 2013 entry of a “=N=500,000.00” payment ascribed as being from one “Dr. Muiz B”. “I did not hesitate in confirming that this probably referred to me because I remember that about three years ago, I received a text message from someone I recollected at the time to be an old colleague in my days as a lecturer at the University of Lagos, an ‘Agbadu-Fishim’ who was then a Research Fellow at the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, informing me of the death and funeral programme of his mother. “The last contact (of any sort) I had with this person before that text would have been about fourteen years earlier, that is, before I was appointed Special Adviser to the Governor of Lagos State at the inception of civil rule in 1999 (now seventeen years ago). “As far as assumption goes, he was to me, at the time of his contact, still employed by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies; he never informed me that he had moved on to become a Judge of any court in Nigeria, and I had never throughout my own career as a legal practitioner or public functionary ever appeared in any case before any judge whatsoever at the National Industrial Court, or attended any function of the National Industrial Court, that would have put me on notice that the Agbadu-Fishim I used to know had become a judge of the National Industrial Court. “Indeed, it was with considerable difficulty that I was able to eventually recognise his face when I eventually saw him again (after seventeen years of my leaving the University of Lagos) on my attendance at the EFCC on Thursday the 3rd day of November, 2016.”