There is a serious worry in legal circles in Nigeria over the decision of The EFCC to continue to file charges before Justice Mohammed Lawal Shuaibu when his relationship with the anti corruption agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC had been subject to an earlier petition by Former Gov. Chimaroke Nnamani that led to his transfer to Kaduna and the removal of all EFCC cases from his Court
It is known that Shuaibu is the “Go to judge” for EFCC cases because of the cozy relationship between them. Shuaibu also has been accused of taking bribes from EFCC in the form of all-expenses paid foreign trips for EFCC related seminars and similar functions.
Some of the trips were to South Africa and Washington DC in the United States of America.
The former governor of Enugu State, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani successfully petitioned to have his case transferred to another court after he accused Justice Shuaibu of bias and of being in EFCC’s payroll. When the allegation was made, Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Roseline Ukeje queried Shuaibu and demanded for explanation from him. Though the result of the investigation was never made public, Justice Shuaibu was transferred away from Lagos where he was to Kaduna. Additionally, all pending EFCC cases in his court were transferred to other judges.
“We want the result of this investigation made public because these are grievous allegations of impropriety against the judge if they are true. We will push for a full disclosure”
If he was not found wanting and liable by the CJ’s internal investigation, why was he transferred and why were the cases taken away from his court” The source queried.
“If as a result of governor Nnamani’s petition Justice Shuaibu was removed from his case and all other EFCC cases in his court was transferred to other judges, it is a clear sign that something was seriously wrong and that he was found wanting. We are definitely interested in finding out the details of the case.”
Nnamani’s petition against Justice was quite pointed and was said to have embarrassed the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Roseline Ukeje. She was said to have decided against making her finding public because of the embarrassment it may cause the judiciary.
In the petition, Nnamani said, “I have objection to my case being tried by the same Judge (Justice Shuaibu) who is trying Charge No. FHC/L/9/2007 Federal Republic of Nigeria vs. Peter Mbah & Ors, a matter involving my former Commissioners, with my name featuring prominently on the charge, because of the clear position already taken by the judge which will adversely affect the fairness of my trial in the new case if handled by him,”
The petition said Shuaibu “has been unabashedly biased in the prosecution of the aforementioned case, from the very first day he began hearing the case, and takes glaring instructions from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). “The Judge’s pronouncements in and out of court on the Enugu officials suggest that he is in collusion with the commission, with an intention to thwart and railroad the course of justice. Indeed, there are several utterances in court, said to have been made by the Honourable Judge, that indicate his patent bias and readiness to jail the accused persons,”
“Justice Shuaibu (allegedly) works hand in hand with the prosecution lawyers, meets and rubs minds with them regularly, even in his office. Nowhere in the world is a judge supposed to be impartial allowed to meet with a party to a matter alone without the other (party) being present, more particularly in criminal proceedings.” Nnamani alleged.
Nnamani concluded his petition of July 2007 by saying, “I can never get justice under Justice Shuaibu and I plead that My Lord grants this transfer.”