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A Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos, on Monday ruled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) does not possess the powers to investigate or prosecute serving Judges except where such officers have been dismissed by the National Judicial Council.
The judgment was delivered in a suit between the EFCC and a Judge of the Federal High Court, Hydiazira Nganjiwa. The appellate court’s decision overturned the earlier decision of a High Court in Lagos.
Many serving judges including from the Supreme Court are currently being prosecuted for corruption by the EFCC.
But in a swift reaction, the anti-graft agency described the ruling as a “dangerous precedent.”
In a statement by its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, the EFCC vowed to appeal the ruling at the Supreme Court.
“The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is to appeal against the ruling of the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal, which today held that the agency lacked powers to investigate or prosecute serving judicial officials except where such officers have been dismissed by the National Judicial Council.
“The Commission considers the ruling a dangerous precedent that has no basis in law and, is confident that the Supreme Court will upturn the judgment.
“Criminal trial takes precedence over administrative procedures and it is strange that the Court of Appeal wants to put the cart before the horse. This is ridiculous! The appellate court simply wants to confer immunity on public officers from prosecution for corruption, it will not stand,” Uwujaren said.
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