Why we went after ‘corrupt’ judges- DSS

Ebun Francis

The Department of State Services (DSS)  has explained why it raided the house of some supreme court and high court judges early Saturday morning in what it called a sting operation. According to Garba Abdullahi, a Senior agent with the service,  the homes of some judges across the country were raided over allegations of corruption levelled against them.

While addressing journalists at a news conference at the DSS headquarters in Abuja on Saturday, Garba  said the secret police had been monitoring the lifestyle of some judges, and that it was determined to bring sanity to the judiciary.

In his words,“The DSS, in the past few days, has embarked on a series of special sting operations involving some judges of the supreme, appeal and high courts” .

“These operations were based on allegations of corruption and other acts of professional misconduct by a few suspected judges. The service is in line with its core mandate, as we have been monitoring the expensive and luxurious lifestyle of some of the judges as well as complaints from the concerned public over judgment obtained fraudulently and on the basis amounts of money paid.

“The judges involved were invited, upon which due diligence was exhibited and their premises searched. The searches have uncovered huge raw cash of various denominations, local and foreign currencies with real estate worth several millions of naira and documents affirming unholy acts by these judges.

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“Meanwhile, some of them have made useful statements while a few have‎ declined even with the glaring evidences that were found against them in terms of material cash, documents and property recovered pointing to their compromise.”

Garba alleged that $2m was stashed in the house of one of the judges.

“In one of the states where the service operations were conducted, credible intelligence revealed that the judge had $2m stashed in his house,” he said.

“When he was approached for due search to be conducted, he, in concert with the state governor, mobilised thugs against the service team. The team restrained itself in the face of unbridled provocative activities by those brought in by the governor. Unfortunately, the judge and the governor also engaged the tacit support of a sister security agency.

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“The service surveillance team noticed that upon frustrating the operation, the judge, with the active support of the governor craftily moved the money to an unknown location, which the service is currently making effort to unravel.”

The DSS agent gave a breakdown of the money recovered from three of the suspects as N93.558m, $530, 087, 25, 970 pounds and 5, 680 euros.

‎He however, explained that Walter Onnoghen, a supreme court justice, and chief justice of Nigeria designate, was not under investigation, a development that was earlier confirmed by office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

“The service would want to clearly state that it has never invited Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen for investigation, neither is he being in‎vestigated by the service.”

Agent Garba Abdullahi did not take to take questions from journalists at the end of the briefing.