Two of the panels set up by the National Judicial Council to probe the allegations levelled against three judges by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission have concluded the exercise in respect of two of the cases.
Multiple sources, including lawyers involved in the probes, told our reporter that the panels led by Justice Emmanuel Ayoola (retd.) and the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdu Kafarati, had concluded their investigations of two of the judges.
The third panel led by the Chief Judge of Borno State, Kashim Zanna, it was learnt, had yet to conclude.
So far, our correspondent learnt that the panels had concluded investigations concerning Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia and Justice Hyeldzira Nganjiwa, of the Lagos and Yenagoa Divisions of the Federal High Court respectively.
It is now left for the third panel to deal with the case against a judge of the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court and Justice Agbadu Fishim of the National Industrial Court.
The three judges, according to the charges instituted against them, were accused of receiving gratification from lawyers in the course of discharging their judicial functions.
Our correspondent learnt that the NJC’s hearing takes the format of court proceedings where both the petitioner and the judge accused were represented by lawyers and called witnesses.
On the conclusion of the probes, the panels are expected to submit their reports containing their recommendations to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, who doubles as the Chairman of the NJC, who will convene a plenary of the council to deliberate on the reports, a source said.
The NJC, which had its quarterly meeting in May this year, is expected to meet soon.
But it is not certain when the next meeting would hold because the council’s activities usually slow down during the annual judges’ vacation which its 2018 edition begins Monday.
“But it cannot be ruled out that the council will meet during the vacation of judges to consider the reports of the panels that had concluded their probes,” a source said.
The EFCC had reportedly sent petitions against three judges it was already prosecuting after the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal delivered a December 12, 2017 judgment prohibiting law enforcement agencies from investigating or prosecuting serving judges until they were disciplined by the council.