The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Sunday said one of its prosecutor identified as Sanusi Galadanchi did not go to the residence of Justice Joyce Obehin AbdulMalik to influence her decision in a pending case as the judge suggested in open court on Tuesday, October 8.
Justice Abdulmalik of the Federal High Court in Ibadan reportedly scolded Galadanchi during one of the court sittings, for visiting her residence “with the intent of influencing her decision in a case pending before her”.
Following the outburst, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) through its National Publicity Secretary, Kunle Edun, commended the conduct of Justice AbdulMalik while it condemned the EFCC as “one of the agents of state trying to destroy the judiciary”.
However, in a statement by EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, he said that was not the case as the commission’s counsel “was led there [the judge’s residence] by love” when he accompanied his fiancé to meet with her uncle, who, unknown to him is the husband of Justice AbdulMalik.
Uwujaren said while the EFCC appreciated the concern of members of the bar over the incident, the commission considered the NBA statement as “hasty”.
He said the EFCC will “gladly assist the NBA to investigate” the circumstances that led to the judge’s outburst in open court.
“As an association which places premium on ethics and regulates the conduct of its members, the EFCC would have expected the NBA to delay its response until a proper investigation of the circumstances leading to the alleged outburst by his Lordship, by which time all the parties would have been availed the opportunity to state their case.
“The EFCC, like the NBA, does not condone bad behaviour by its staffers, and will punish any act of omission or commission that could impugn its collective integrity.
“For this reason, the EFCC will gladly assist the NBA to investigate the circumstances that led to the outburst by Justice AbdulMalik,” the EFCC spokesperson said in the statement.
Uwujaren said it was necessary to state “the facts available to the Commission” that made the open chastisement of Galadanchi by Justice AbdulMalik “curious and intriguing”.
“The facts as established by the EFCC, is that Galadanchi was actually at the home of Justice AbdulMalik sometime in July,2019. But the context of the visit had no nexus with the case pending before his Lordship, nor was the counsel there to influence her to rule in his favour.
“Indeed Galadanchi’s presence in her home was a coincidence as he didn’t know that it was the residence of his Lordship.
“According to the counsel, he had accompanied his fiancé, a P.hD candidate from the Ahmadu Bello University to meet with her uncle, who, unknown to him is the husband of Justice AbdulMalik.
“According to him, himself and his partner had already arrived the premises of his Lordship when he sighted a vehicle with a Federal High Court registration number, and he immediately indicated a desire to leave.
“Unfortunately, their host, Justice AbdulMalik’s husband who had been expecting them was already at the doorway and prevailed on him to stay.
“He recalls that when his Lordship came into the living room and saw him, she expressed her displeasure and left for another living room.
“He noted that after the meeting, his fiancé’s uncle led them to meet Justice AbdulMalik where she sat and Galadanchi apologised to her for his innocent presence in her home and she accepted the apology.
“It was therefore shocking that his Lordship waited until three months after to raise the visit in an open court.
“What is clear from the facts as established, is that Galadanchi didn’t go to the home of Justice AbdulMalik to solicit for conviction of any defendant, neither was he there to discuss cases he is prosecuting.
“He was led there by love, which exist between him and Justice AbdulMalik’s sister-in-law,” the statement stated.