The National Legal Adviser of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Muiz Banire, SAN yesterday refuted a widely-published allegation that he bribed a judge with N500,000.
In a statement sent to THISDAY yesterday, the legal practitioner, who was also a former Commissioner in Lagos State, said the alleged sum was a gift of assistance to an old friend and colleague back in 2013 to help the latter defray some of the cost of his mother’s burial ceremony.
According to Banire, “My attention has been drawn to the publication in several newspapers of Saturday November 5, 2016 suggesting that I was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in connection with an allegation that I bribed a judge with the sum of N500,000.00. I must say that while sensationalism may occasion a newsworthy item, it behoves the victim of same to educate the public on the actual development.
“It must, therefore, be understood that I was never arrested or invited by the EFCC but having read the allegation on the social media, I wrote a letter dated 29 October, 2016 to the EFCC notifying that I would be visiting the Commission on Tuesday 1st November, 2016 to assist in its investigation of the matter.
Thus, I voluntarily visited the EFCC on the said date and have clarified to the said Commission thereafter as follows: 1. I did not give any bribe of the sum of N500,000.00 or any other amount to any Judge at any time whatsoever; 2. The person to whom I gave a gift of N500,000.00 in 2013 was a former colleague in the academia, a fellow lawyer whom I now understand to be a judge with whom I had lost physical contact for more than seventeen years save for telephone conversation about probably three years ago when he solicited for my financial assistance towards his mother’s burial;
“Thirdly, I had not physically seen the said judge in the past seventeen years or more until Thursday, the 3rd day of November, 2016 at the EFCC premises; 4. I have never appeared before the said judge either as a lawyer or as a litigant; 5. I have never taken any benefit from the said recipient of my generosity and have never expected any benefit in return; 6. The occasion of the gift was purely customary for the purpose of assisting in the burial of his deceased mother”, Banire explained.
“I must say this kind of assistance is not peculiar to this old colleague, but that which is the nature of my usual disposition to all colleagues, associations, students, clubs, religious bodies and humanity in general.
“I am a strong advocate of anti-corruption campaign and will never descend into the insanity of offering bribe to pervert the course of justice. It is my strong conviction that the just shall live by faith and this passing phase shall soon give way to the triumph of the uncompromising truth. This development rather strengthens my resolve to continue to uphold my ideals and principles”, he added.