The Department of State Service (DSS), on Saturday said that it, in the past days, embarked on series of special sting operations involving some judges of the Supreme, Appeal and High Courts.
A statement by an official of the service, Abdullahi Garba, said that the operations were based on allegations of corruption and other acts of professional misconduct by the suspected judges.
According to him, the service’s action is in line with its core mandate.
“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 of 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,” he said.
Garba stated that it had deployed intelligence to track down missing $2 million dollars believed to be a proceed of fraud found in a judge’s house.
“In one of the States where the Service’s operations were conducted, credible intelligence revealed that the judge had $2 million stashed in his house.
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 governor also engaged the tacit support of a sister security agency.
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 efforts to unravel,” Garba said.
Recall that Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state had said that the DSS and Police threatened to shoot him after him prevented them from arresting a High Court judge in the state.
Garba added that some of the judges had made useful statements while a few declined even with the glaring evidences that were found against them.
“The summaries of the recovered money include N93,558,000, $530,087, £25,970 and €5,680. Other foreign currencies were also recovered from just three of the judges. This seizure is in addition to other banking documents, including real estate documents,” the statement said.
According to the statement, preparations are ongoing to arraign the judges in a competent court of jurisdiction in line with the laws of the country.
“The service has never invited Justice Walter Onnoghen of the Supreme Court for investigation, neither is he being investigated. The service has tremendous respect for the judiciary and would not do anything to undermine it or its activities. The service will also join hands with this noble institution in its fight to rid it of few corrupt judges whose actions are undermining not only the judiciary but the common bond of our national life,” Garba said.
The statement, however, said the current operation would be sustained till sanity and sanctity were restored to the esteemed third arm of government and public confidence regained.
Garba also urged members of the public to avail the service of any information which could assist in this drive to rid the nation of corrupt practices and tendencies.