The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), has said the present administration will not spare judges who are found to be corrupt.
Malami said unlike in the past when indicted judges were only sent on compulsory retirement, any judge found culpable in the new dispensation risked criminal prosecution and forfeiture of assets as additional consequences.
The minister said this in Lagos on Tuesday, according to a statement made available to our correspondent by a group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project.
According to SERAP, Malami delivered a paper in Lagos at the presentation of the group’s latest report, titled, ‘Go home and sin no more: Corrupt judges escaping justice in Nigeria’.
Malami, who was represented on the occasion by his Senior Special Assistant on White Collar Crimes, Abiodun Aikomo, was quoted to have vowed that acts of judicial impunity on the part of judges would not be tolerated by the President Muhamadu Buhari-led administration.
He noted that the Nigerian judiciary had been losing public trust and confidence as it appeared as judges enjoyed total immunity from prosecution for alleged corrupt practices.
The AGF added, “As we may be aware, this administration promised Nigerians that it will promptly address the challenges facing our nation in the three areas of corruption, economy and security. Let no one be in doubt, the legitimate expectation of Nigerians in this regard shall be met.
“In this regard therefore, I am reiterating that the fight against corruption shall be total and will not exclude judicial officers, who are found wanting. After all, it is beyond doubt that a corrupt judge cannot meaningfully contribute to the fight against corruption.”
Malami said judges would be continually reminded of the judicial oath that they took, which mandated them to deliver justice without fear or favour, affection or ill-will, independently and impartially.
“In reality, it cannot be over-emphasised that systemic corruption and impunity are prevalent in Nigeria, and that they cut across all sectors of the society, unfortunately, including the judiciary – an institution that is universally believed to be the hope of the common man.
“Ideally, the judiciary in a democratic state ought to be accountable less to public opinion and more to public interest. It should discharge its constitutional roles by being principled, independent and impartial,” he stated