Justice Roseline Bozimo,

•NBA raises concern over alleged misconduct by lawyers

The Administrator, National Judicial Institute (NJI), Justice Roseline Bozimo, has described as malicious and outright falsehood, a report alleging massive fraud at the institute.

Her tenure was recently extended by the board, headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, for another four years. She, however, blamed the report on her refusal to share funds meant for projects at the institute.

A former Chief Judge of Delta State for eight years, Justice Bozimo alleged that some disgruntled staff had openly demanded that she should spend funds appropriated for the institute.According to her, the money was usually retired at the end of every fiscal year for proper accountability.

Bozimo, who spoke at the weekend in Abuja, declared her readiness to open the account books of the establishment for scrutiny, maintaining that she would never share funds meant for projects.
She refuted the claim in a national daily that the alleged fraud led to a massive shake-up at NJI, leading to the transfer of two senior accountants out of Abuja by the CJN.

Bozimo continued: “The malicious report claimed that whereas one of the senior accountants was transferred to the Kano State Division of the High Court, the other was moved to the Sharia Court in Abuja.

“According to them, the transfer of these unnamed accountants by the CJN who heads the governing council board of the institute, was part of measures adopted to re-position the institute. But nothing of such has happened. You can see for yourselves that the two senior accountants they said were transferred due to the alleged fraud are right here with us today.

“It is important that whenever anything is to be reported about the NJI or any judicial body, the facts should be gotten clearly. Our doors are open 24 hours for any form of enquiries from the press.”

In a similar development, president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud, has raised the alarm over the professional misconduct of some lawyers in the country, saying the legal profession must be held in high esteem.

Speaking at the 2017 Law Week in Warri, Delta State, he regretted that the number of petitions against legal practitioners at the national secretariat was alarming.Mahmoud expressed worry that the value and honour attached to character was being eroded.

“We must as a body continue to uphold the ethics of the profession. The senior members of the Bar should expectedly lead the way so that the juniors who are coming behind will have something to emulate,” he urged.

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