JUDGES handling cases of corruption against public officers are under surveillance, Thenigerialawyer learnt on Wednesday.
The monitoring was said to be civil and security in nature.
Chairman, presidential advisory committee on anti-corruption, Professor Itse Sagay, made this known during an exclusive chat.
The surveillance is meant to monitor their performances, professionally, ethically and morally.
The inability of the committee and other partnering government agencies to find upright judges across board, who will handle alleged corruption cases the President Muhammadu Buhari administration would so institute against alleged looters of the economy in the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan compelled the monitoring, according to Sagay.
Thenigerialawyer had exclusively reported the failure of many nominee-judges for the proposed special looters’ courts in the integrity test conducted by security agencies.
Sagay, however, did not reveal the identity of those monitoring the judges.
He disclosed that the rot in the judiciary had made the search for the desired upright judges a Herculean task.
The sought-upright judges are to take off with the planned trial of alleged looters, while the constitution amendment for the establishment of the special looters’ courts is being pursued, which Sagay said could run into next year.
The reform being planned in the anti-corruption war would also see anti-corruption agencies being monitored by the advisory body as a way of checking with the inside from the outside.
Sagay’s committee may also become the warehouse for petitions for the public before they are sent to the appropriate anti-corruption bodies, after being sieved by the presidential team.
To check corruption within, the committee would also have moles within the anti-corruption bodies for insider information, he said.
According to him, “with all the relevant agencies like EFCC, ICPC and others, we intend to effectively collaborate with them.
“They have nothing to fear. We are not out to take their jobs from them. All this hostility must stop. We have been vested with the powers to recommend people for prosecution. A lot of people who are supposed to welcome us have been hostile. We are here to make their work lighter. All we are going to do is to increase the investigative capacity of these agencies.”
He also did not rule out the merger of the existing anti-corruption bodies, though noted that such move would not be immediate, considering the bodies being creations of the constitution.
In order to further cleanse the judiciary which Sagay said stinks right now, Sagay said the popular Eso panel report and Babalakin review panel report, which indicted many judges still in service up till the Supreme Court, would be revisited.
Debunking the insinuation that he was rewarded with the current assignment for saving Governor Rauf Aregbesola from impeachment, Sagay said he weighed in on the Osun matter because Justice Olamide Oloyede brought judiciary into disrepute.
According to him, “Oloyede submitted her claims to the appropriate quarters and nobody is blaming her for this.
“As a judge, you don’t bring yourself down. You don’t turn yourself into a street fighter who has no care about dignity. These people (judges) have been placed on a pedestal for us to have confidence in them. What she is doing is a show of shame.
“This woman went to the gutter, discarded her robes and effectively walked about naked. She is a disgrace to the judiciary. I am still calling for her exit.”
Sagay also disclosed that his committee had not come into any information of a direct wrongdoing by Jonathan, saying that “no evidence has, however, linked Jonathan directly to these alleged crimes but he could be found guilty by reason of presiding over these ministers.”