NJC dismisses Judge for Bribery

The frosty relationship between the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu and the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, over allegations of corruption on Friday claimed its first casualty.

Consequently, the National Judicial Council has disciplined a serving judge of the Zamfara State High Court, Justice Musa Anka, and sacked him from office.

The NJC’s decision, which elicited jubilation among judicial officers and lawyers, is being interpreted as a ploy to clean the rot in the nation’s judiciary.

The CJN had consistently warned judges against corruption, which, he said, had been denting the image of the judiciary in recent times.

Although the details of Justice Anka’s offence were sketchy at press time, our correspondent learnt that the decision of the NJC was sequel to a petition against the judge over an alleged demand of N200,000 bribe from one Mr. Zubairu Abdulmalik in order to deliver judgement in his favour.

A source said, “Officials of the State Security Service were said to have been detailed to follow him, while Abdulmalik was asked to play along. The judge was caught in the act and was apprehended.”

The implication of the dismissal, according to legal experts, is that Justice Anka would forfeit his entitlements and could not go back to the Bar to practise as a lawyer.

“He can only be a consultant to lawyers, if he is good,” a source stated.

A terse statement by the NJC Deputy Director (Information), Mr. Soji Oye, obtained by media source (SATURDAY PUNCH) in Abuja, reads, “The National Judicial Council has recommended the removal of Justice Musa Ibrahim Anka of the Zamfara State High Court from office.

“It will be recalled that he was suspended by the council following a petition written against him by Zamfara State Director of the State Security Service, alleging that he received a bribe from one Zubairu Abdulmalik in order to deliver judgement in his favour.

“The council, during its meeting, which was held on May 26, 2011, found Justice (Musa Ibrahim) Anka guilty of the allegation of corruption and gratification. Thus, in the exercise of its powers under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, council decided to recommend his removal from office as a judicial officer to the Executive Governor of Zamfara State.”

The NJC had on Wednesday, July 21, 2010 suspended the embattled judge from office with immediate effect.

The council had in a statement by its secretary, Mr. Danladi Halilu, said, “Thus, in the exercise of its powers under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the NJC, at its meeting of July 7 and 8, 2010, decided to suspend Justice (Ibrahim) Anka from office till further notice.”

The NJC had last year retired Justice Idris Habib Shall of the Bauchi State High Court with immediate effect over an alleged abduction and street fighting.

He was accused of “fighting on the street and attempting to abduct one Kassim Danlami Shall of the Ministry of Works and Transport, Bauchi State.”

The council had, during its meeting of February 24 and 25, 2010, suspended Justice Shall from office for alleged misbehaviour, which breached professional ethics.

Such “despicable conduct,” according to the council, contravenes the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers in the Federation, as well as his Oath of Office to which he had subscribed.

According to the NJC, the suspension of the judge with immediate effect was as a result of his conduct, which it said involved street fighting.

The judge was said to have failed in an alleged bid to kidnap his victim by attempting to force him into the boot of his car.

The NJC had said, “The suspension is pursuant to the findings of the council that Justice Shall fought on the street and physically assaulted the petitioner – one Kassim Danlami Shall of Ministry of Works and Transport, Bauchi State.

“Further, the judge had attempted to abduct the petitioner into the boot of his car.

“At its 50th meeting, which was held on February 24 and 24, 2010, council found the conduct of Justice Shall despicable and contrary to the Code of Conduct of Judicial Officials of the Federation as well as the oath of office he had subscribed to.”
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