Fidelis Soriwei, Nike Popoola and Ifeanyi Onuba
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has taken over the investigation of allegations of corruption against some judges in the country from the Department of State Services.
A top operative of the commission told SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday that the commission took over the investigation of the judges, who were raided by operatives of the DSS following a directive by the President that the EFCC should do a painstaking investigation into the allegation.
SaharaReporters had quoted sources in the Presidency as having said that the President gave a directive to the EFCC to take over the investigation of the allegations against the judges whose houses were raided on October 8 by operatives of the DSS in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano, Enugu, Sokoto and Gombe.
Our findings revealed that the commission had commenced discreet investigation into allegations of corruption against the affected judges.
However, the source stated that the investigation had been made more difficult for the EFCC because of the public outcry, which followed the manner in which the judges were arrested.
The operative said it was the traditional pattern of the EFCC to secretly investigate corruption long before going after suspects.
It was stated that with the noise generated by the arrest of the judges, the investigation would be devoid of the aura of secrecy which is often a major aspect of probes conducted by the commission.
The source said, “The commission has taken over the probe into the allegation of corruption against those judges whose residents were raided by operatives of the DSS.”
The EFCC had invited four Senior Advocates of Nigeria for interrogation for allegedly transferring huge amounts of funds into the accounts of some serving judges under probe on Friday.
Prior to the invitation of the four senior lawyers, the commission had quizzed four Senior Advocates of Nigeria in connection with the ongoing investigation of judges in the country.
The lawyers reported to the Lagos office of the commission and were interrogated and released on Thursday.
An operative of the commission said there was a strong likelihood that the invited lawyers would report to the commission for interrogation with effect from Monday.
Meanwhile, the agency has arrested some directors of insurance companies for swindling their underwriting firms of millions of naira.
Some other directors were also picked by the EFCC for illegally acquiring huge shares in the underwriting firms without paying for them.
The Commissioner for Insurance, Mohammed Kari, stated this while speaking during a seminar for journalists.
He said, “I can confirm that one chairman returned N66m. We have identified quite a few cases like that and we have stood our ground that they must refund it because these are shareholders and policyholders’ money and not their personal money.”