The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been drawn to a report captioned, ‘Disquiet in Rivers Over Magu’s visit to Chief Judge’, which appeared in the Daily Sun newspaper of Tuesday, May 9, 2017.
The report purports that the Rivers state House of Assembly, are considering passing a resolution calling for the suspension of the state Chief Judge, Justice Iyayi Laminkara for allegedly receiving the acting chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu who paid her a courtesy visit on Monday, May 8, 2017.
Quoting an anonymous source, the newspaper claimed that the lawmakers believed the visit had “put the Chief Judge under pressure”, adding that “it was wrong for the EFCC to visit a judge over any case”.
It is important to state that the visit by the EFCC boss to the Rivers State Chief Judge was not over any case pending before her or any judge under her control.
Rather, it was a courtesy call as part of Magu’s working visit to Port Harcourt, headquarters of the South-South zonal office of the Commission. Apart from the Chief Judge, Magu also visited the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Zaki Ahmed.
Indeed, it is a matter of routine courtesy for the EFCC boss to visit critical stakeholders, particularly law enforcement and justice sector leaders in zones where the Commission maintain offices. Such gestures are not meant to compromise or influence them to favour the Commission in the discharge of their responsibilities.
The Commission believes it has a shared responsibility with other workers in the justice delivery chain to promote the fight against corruption and visits such as the one to the Rivers Chief Judge offers opportunity to share experiences and remind them of their responsibilities under the EFCC Act especially as it relates to the designation of judges to handle EFCC cases.
Justice Laminkara is not the first Chief Judge to host Magu and it would be distasteful to malign her over a civilised gesture of receiving a head of a Federal Agency. Many Judges have hosted Magu without a whimper from any quarter. Before now, the EFCC boss visited the Chief Judges of Lagos, Ogun and Oyo States. At the Federal level, he has paid courtesy visits to the Chief Judges of the Federal High Court, the Federal Capital Territory High Court and the President of the Court of Appeal. These visits have not stopped the Commission from losing cases before judges under the supervision of these respected judicial officials.
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