EFCC to Appeal Court of Appeal Decision Baring it From Prosecuting Serving Judicial Officers


The Economic And Financial Crime Commission, EFCC has vowed to appeal the Court of Appeal decision barring it from investigating, and prosecuting serving judicial officers.
The anti-graft agency in its official twitter handle described the decision of the court as a “dangerous precedent” and indicated its readiness to approach the country’s apex court on the issue.

“The EFCC will appeal today’s ruling of the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal, which held that the anti-graft agency lacked powers to investigate or prosecute serving judicial officials except where such officers have been dismissed by the National Judicial Council”, the twit stated.

The EFCC further noted that “It is strange that the Court of Appeal wants to confer immunity on public officers from prosecution for corruption. It is no doubt a dangerous precedent that has no basis in law as criminal trial takes precedence over administrative procedures.”

The Court of Appeal in Lagos had in a ruling, Monday, in a case involving Justice Hydiazira Nganjiwa versus the Federal Government of Nigeria, decided that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has no powers to investigate and prosecute serving judicial officers for offences committed in the discharge of their duties.

The court insisted that a judicial officer can only be investigated and prosecuted after being dismissed or retired by the National Judicial Council (NJC).

However, the Appeal Court said a serving judicial officer can be prosecuted for offences like murder, stealing etc., if such offences were committed outside the discharge of their official duties.

It ruled that once a judicial officer commits an offence in the discharge of his duties, he must first be tried by the NJC and dismissed or retired before the EFCC can investigate or prosecute him.

The court anchored its decision on the principles of separation of powers between the three arms of government in the country.

In a lead judgement in an appeal No: CA/L/969C/2017, Justice Obaseki Adejumo, held that that the condition precedent to filing a charge against the accused judge was not fulfilled.

While allowing the appeal against a decision of the Lagos State High Court on the suspected judge, the superior court held that the NJC must first strip a judicial officer of his judicial standing before he could be charged with an offence allegedly committed in the discharge of his duties.



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