It was also learnt yesterday that the NJC got two more petitions against the judge. The two petitions were said to be in respect of some matters – Honeywell v ECOBANK and Sterling Bank v Joma Frozen Foods Product Limited. The NJC began a two-day session in Abuja yesterday but it was unclear if the petitions against Justice Yunusa will be heard. The EFCC’s complaint had been submitted to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed for onward transmission to NJC. An EFCC source said: “Definitely, we have reported the judge’s alleged misconduct to NJC through the Office of the CJN. “All relevant documents/ evidence were attached to the letter sent to NJC. We are awaiting the action of the council. “Our officers are also prepared to appear before the appropriate committee of the NJC.” Another source at the NJC said: “There are some petitions against Justice Yunus but I cannot give you the list of the complainants. “I am also aware that on Monday, the CJN was trying to establish contact with the EFCC ahead of the NJC session on Wednesday. “The NJC is always painstaking in conducting its assignment because the image of a Judicial Officer is involved. But it will be fair to all parties.” Responding to a question, the source added: “The NJC started a two-day session on Wednesday to consider candidates for the two vacant positions at the Supreme Court from North-Central and North-West and other matters. “I cannot be specific on other agenda of the council. We will brief the nation accordingly at the appropriate time.” A petition against a judge passes through four stages in NJC as follows: * receipt of a petition by CJN; * sending the petition to the Preliminary Complaints Assessment Committee(PCAC) to determine the merit or otherwise of the issues; * genuine complaint goes to NJC Plenary; and * NJC raises Fact-Finding Committee to hear from the petitioner(s), the defendants and their lawyers. The NJC and the President are empowered to determine a judge’s fate in line with the process outlined by the Part I, Paragraph I, Section 21(b) of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Section 292(1)( a)(i) Part I, Paragraph I, Section 21(b) of the Third Schedule to the Constitution reads: “For the avoidance of doubt, the said Third Schedule, Part I, Paragraph I, Section 21(b) of the Constitution provides that “the NJC shall have power to recommend to the President the removal from office of (the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the Justices of the Supreme Court, the President and Justices of the Court of Appeal, and the Chief Judge and Judges of the Federal High Court) and to exercise disciplinary control over such officers” Section 292(1)( a)(i) says: “A judicial officer shall not be removed from his office or appointment before his age of retirement, except in the following circumstances (a) in the case of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the President of the Court of Appeal, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Grand Khadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and President, Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, by the President( of Nigeria), acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate, praying that he be so removed for his inability to discharge the functions of his office or appointment (whether arising from infirmity of mind or body) or for misconduct or contravention of the Code of Conduct.” In an affidavit at the Federal High Court in Lagos, an operative of EFCC, Mr. Moses Awolusi said the agency’ investigation of Tarfa’s Access Bank account number 0000964760 “shows that before the institution of the above proceeding, particularly on 7th January 2014, the applicant bribed His Lordship, Honourable Justice M. N. Yunusa with the sum of N225,000; a copy of the applicant’s firm’s account details showing the transfer of the sum of N225,000 from the applicant’s firm to Honourable Justice M. N. Yunusa is hereby shown to me and marked Exhibit ‘O’.” The operative added: “I know from facts revealed during investigation that the said bribe of N225,000 was accepted and acknowledged by Justice Yunusa in a text message to the applicant wherein he said ‘Thank you my senior advocate’. “I also know that investigation has revealed that the applicant’s law firm was in the habit of asking the Chief Registrar of the Lagos Judicial Division of the Federal High Court to assign his cases before His Lordship Honourable M. N. Yunusa in furtherance of the understanding between the applicant and the particular judge.” The EFCC operative alleged that even a junior lawyer in Tarfa’s law firm “also engaged in the corrupt practices of their boss” by manipulating the court’s registry to fix and assign cases by them to particular judges. According to Awolusi, there is evidence that Tarfa instructed bank officials through his mobile phone to transfer funds to other public officers. The operative said details of such instructions “are being kept to prevent the applicant from tampering with evidence concerning allegation of corrupt practices against the applicant.” The EFCC alleged that sometime in 2005, Tarfa collected $500,000 from one of his clients “under the pretext that he was going to bribe some officials of EFCC”. The commission recalled that on April 29, 2015, Tarfa’s law firm represented Michael Igbinedion, who was standing trial for laundering N25billion. EFCC said Tarfa, on April 30, attended a book launch in honour of the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, in company of Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, who was the chief launcher, and who donated N8million. EFCC said Tarfa did not advise Igbinedion not to donate the money since Igbinedion’s son, who was later convicted, was standing trial before the court. The commission said Tarfa and his brother silks donated N7million on the occasion despite having cases before the Chief Judge. According to the agency, Tarfa obtained $500,000 from one Prince Akinruntan in 2006, who later stated that it was by “false pretence”. EFCC quoted Akinruntan as saying: “He (Tarfa) told me that the money is not for him alone, that he is going to settle the court, EFCC and many other people.”]]>

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