Two more judges were yesterday arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS), taking the number of judges so far picked up to nine.
Justices Bashir Sukola and Ladan Manir of the Kaduna State High Court, were arrested in Kaduna and taken to the DSS Headquarters in Abuja at about 8.30pm.
A top source told the Nation, said they were immediately taken in for interrogation.Six other judges are under probe.
The DSS, it was learnt yesterday, has frozen the accounts of some of the judges under investigation.In some of the accounts are “huge lodgments”, a source said yesterday.
The agency has received more petitions against the judges. Many of the petitioners, it was learnt, are willing to testify against them.
There were strong indications last night that the judges might be arraigned in court next week because the DSS has set a deadline in order not to extend the investigation of the judges beyond this week.All of them are to face trial, the source said.
The source, who spoke in confidence because he is not allowed to talk to the media about the investigation, said:
“Some accounts have been frozen through orders of the court. This affects some of the judges. Not all of them.“We found some huge lodgements that are questionable in some accounts and in addition to that we also observed the inflow of their salaries over a long period without them making any withdrawal at all.“What that means is that they don’t live on their salaries at all. Those accounts have been frozen but as I said not all of the judges are affected.”
On why the judges were yet to be charged to court, the source added:
“We are waiting for the action of the NJC. We expect the NJC to suspend them, otherwise it’s like taking a sitting judge to court.
“In the Service, when anybody is being investigated for any serious crime, the first thing we do is to place such a person on suspension.
“After the investigation, such a person would face trial and get dismissed from service on conviction and later face prosecution in the law court.”
Asked what will happen if they are not suspended, the source quipped:
“The NJC does not have the luxury not to suspend them.“We wrote the NJC on Monday but we haven’t received any response.”
The source added that contrary to insinuations, steps were taken to accord the seven judges arrested at the weekend the desired respect before their arrest and while they were in custody.
The sourced added:
“Justice Ademola Adeniyi requested that his lawyer should be present before his residence could be searched.
“The counsel came, examined the search warrant and confirmed the validity of the warrant. He thereafter asked the judge to cooperate with the DSS team.
“Some of the judges also allowed their lawyers to witness the search of their homes.”
Under probe are two Supreme Court Justices – Sylvester Ngwuta and Inyang Okoro – the suspended Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division, Justice Mohammed Ladan Tsamiya, who was picked up in Sokoto; Justice Adeniyi Ademola (Federal High Court); the Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice I. A. Umezulike; Justice Kabiru Auta of Kano State High Court; and Justice Muazu Pindiga (Gombe State High Court).
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