*Says EFCC lacks powers to investigate or prosecute a serving judicial officer in Nigeria for misconducts or offences allegedly committed in the discharge of the duties of his office
The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, has struck out the criminal charges filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission against a serving judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Hyeladzira Nganjiwa.
In delivering his judgment in the case between Hon. JUSTICE NGANJUWA V. FRN with the Appeal No: CA/L/969C/17 . Hon Justice Obaseki Adejumo said that EFCC does not have power to investigate and prosecute serving judicial officers and that NJC must first strip the Appellant (Hon. Justice Nganjuwa) of his judicial standing before he could be charge.
His Lordship further stated that serving judicial officers can only be prosecuted for offences like murder, stealing etc done outside the discharge of their duties. That once the offence was committed in the discharge of their duties, they must be tried by NJC first.
Justice Obaseki Adejumo JCA had to set aside the Ruling of Hon. Justice Akinbode J and upheld the Preliminary objection raised by the appellant stating that the High Court of Lagos lacks the jurisdiction to hear and determine the charge and therefore dismissed the charge.
The EFCC had arraigned the judge for allegedly receiving a total of $260,000 and N8.65m gratification to enrich himself as a public official.
The anti-graft agency claimed that the judge received the money through his bank account between 2013 and 2015.
The EFCC claimed that the judge could not explain the source of the funds, adding that he acted contrary to Section 82(a) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, No. 11, 2011.
Justice Nganjiwa was also accused of giving false information to operatives of the EFCC, which, the prosecution said, amounted to an offence under Section 39(2) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2014.
The trial of the judge had commenced before the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere.
However, following an appeal by his lawyer, Chief Robert Clark (SAN), the Court of Appeal on Monday struck out the charges.