From James Ojo, Abuja
The Federal Government has commenced criminal prosecution of Justice Hyeladzira Nganjiwa of the Federal High Court Yenegoa, Balyesa State, cleared of corruption charges by the National Judicial Council (NJC) last week.
Yesterday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) filed 14 criminal charges against Justice Nganjiwa.
Justice Ajiya Nganjiwa, who is handling the Ese Oruru case resumed work on Wednesday, June 8, in compliance with the NJC directive.
In the charges, the judge was accused of unlawful enrichment as a public officer, contrary to section 82a of the Criminal law of Lagos State, No 11 2011.
In the charge sheet, EFCC said between January 18 and December 16, 2013, the judge enriched himself to the tune of $144,000, through account number 328/4466178/2/1/0 domiciled in GT bank.
“Between January 6 and November 17, 2014, $102,000 was deposited in the same account,” which was described as “unlawful enrichment as a sitting judge in Lagos Judiciary.”
Under the same jurisdiction, the judge reportedly made another $10,000, “through unlawful means which led to a significant increase in his assets as a public officer.”
Investigators also discovered another $4,000 was deposited in the same account on April 15, 2015.
In the judge’s corporate account, with the name Awa-Ajia Nig Limited, N750,000 was lodged inAccess Bank (0000971331), in addition to another N300,000 deposited on April 28, 2015.
Deposits into the same account were as follows; on November 8, 2013, N5 million and N500,000 on November 27, 2015, N500,000 on February 8, 2016, N500,000 on October 30, 2015, N500,000 was deposited and on April 8, 2013, N100,000 was paid into the account.
The judge was also accused of misleading investigators when she denied any relationship with the company which bore her signature.
As at last night, the case was yet to be assigned to any judge.
Other judges recalled by the NJC were: Justice Inyang Okoro of the Supreme Court, Justice Uwani John of the Court of Appeal, Justice Musa Kurya and Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
In October 2016, in a sting operation, operatives of the Department of State Service raided the homes of seven judges of the Supreme, Federal and High Courts across the country and allegedly discovered N360 million from their homes.
A breakdown of the monies allegedly recovered from the residences of the three judges was N93,558,000; $530,087; £25,970 and €5,680. The three judges were identified as Justices Ademola, Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta and Okoro.
The DSS explained the raids were aimed at restoring “sanity and sanctity to the esteemed third arm of government.”