A judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Yunusa, accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of an unwholesome judicial conduct with and receipt of financial transfers from a senior lawyer, Mr. Rickey Tarfa (SAN), has been queried by the National Judicial Council (NJC).
In a letter with reference number NJC/F.3/FHC.49/1/421, dated March 16, 2016, signed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and Chairman of the NJC, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, which was sent through the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim N. Auta, Justice Yunusa was given a 14-day deadline to submit his response to allegations of judicial, abuse, compromise and misconduct leveled against him by the Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC).
CSNAC had in a petition dated December 15, 2015, accused the judge of consistent refusal to abide by judicial precedents, laid down by the apex courts, in granting orders and injunctions against the EFCC.
According to CSNAC, the actions of Justice Yinusa “will undoubtedly serve as a leeway for unscrupulous and corrupt individuals, who will stop at nothing to truncate their arrest, investigation and prosecution by the appropriate law enforcement agencies, to render our criminal law ineffective, as well as allowing corruption fester in the society.”
The organisation had submitted that: “The grant of the orders of mandatory and perpetual injunctions by Justice Yunusa against the EFCC is a grave departure from the established principles in the mentioned cases, as laid down by the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal which are binding on the Federal High Court, being a lower court. Justice Yunusa, by the grant of these orders, has stripped the EFCC of its constitutional powers as a law enforcement agency, as well its powers under the enabling law, the EFCC (Establishment) Act, LFN 2004, a Federal Legislation. It is also a gross abuse of his powers as a judicial officer.” The organisation further listed some of the cases concerned as: FHC/L/CS/1471/2015 Mr. Simon John Adonmene & three others vs EFCC filed on September 21, 2015 before Justice Yunusa of the Federal High Court, Lagos Judicial Division; Suit No. FHC/L/CS/487/14 – FRN v. Michael Adenuga; Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1342/15 – Senator Stella Odua v. AG Federation, EFCC, ICPC and IGP; Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1285/15 – Jyde Adelakun and Anor v. Chairman EFCC & Anor; Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1445/15 – Dr. Martins Oluwafemi Thomas v. EFCC; Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1269/15 – Shamsudeen Abogu v. EFCC and Ors; Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1012/15 – Hon. Teeth Dauzia Loya v. EFCC.
In its query, Justice Muhammed said: “I forward herewith a petition dated December 21, 2015, against you by Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, Chairman, Civil Society Network Against Corruption, on the above subject matter. The petition speaks for itself. I shall be glad to have your comments within 14 days from the date of your receipt of this letter, please.” The response of Justice Yunusa is still being awaited.