NJC Demands Explanation from Federal Judge over Misconduct

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A Federal High Court judge in Lagos, Justice Mohammed Yunusa may be in trouble for taking sides in a case before him as the National Judicial Council (NJC) has given him 14 days to explain why he should not be cited for misconduct. The NJC letter was signed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, in his as chairman of the body.

The memo dated November 19, was addressed to Justice Yunusa through the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta.

The NJC asked Justice Yunusa to explain his conduct  in a petition sent to it (NJC) by a businesswoman, Mrs Rachidatou Abdou, a Beninois  who is a party in a suit before the judge.

In the petition dated November 11, Mrs. Abdou, a Beninois resident in Nigeria, narrated how Justice Yunusa allegedly connived with the lawyer to her opponent to deny her justice. The petitioner said she wrote to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on alleged manipulation of incorporation documents of a company, Rana Prestige Industries Limited, which she co-owned with a fellow Beninois, Mr. Gnahoue Sourton Nazaire.

She said her grouse about the co-director was that he allegedly colluded with the lawyer, who handled the incorporation, to change the share capital holding structure from 50 per cent each between her and Nazaine to 60 per cent and 40 per cent in favour of her partner. Mrs Abdou said her partner allegedly forged her signature to change the share holding of the company.

The petitioner also said her co-director allegedly connived with his younger brother, Mr. Denon Modeste, who she described as an employee of the company, to divert the company’s funds while she was in France for six years.

She accused Justice Yunusa of conniving with the lawyer to her opponent to frustrate EFCC’s probe of her petition. Mrs Abdou said her opponent, through their lawyer, filed three suits to stop EFCC’s investigation of her petition. The petitioner expressed shock that Justice Yunusa had allegedly been communicating with the lawyer to her opponent before the suits were filed and when they were still pending, contrary to judicial officers’ ethics.

She averred that Justice Yunusa spoke severally with the lawyer to her opponent and exchanged Short Messaging Service (SMS) with him. Mrs Abdou vowed to expose the alleged conversation anytime she is invited.

The petitioner alleged that her co-director had been boasting in Cotonou that he had pocketed the judge in the matter. She also said Justice Yunusa’s judgment in a suit delivered on August 18, confirmed her worst fear and confirmed her allegation when she was fined N6million as damages.

Additional reports from Thenigerialawyer.com

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