Revealed: How BVN Exposed Corrupt JudgesSources within the Department of State Security (DSS) have revealed that the implemented Bank Verification Number (BVN) helped its operative trace several millions to alleged corrupt judges who have now been arrested.
It would be recalled that seven judges- Justice Inyang Okoro and Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court; Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja; Kabir Auta of the Kano High Court; Muazu Pindiga of Gombe High Court, Mohammed Tsamiya of the Court of Appeal in Ilorin, and the Chief Judge of Enugu State, I. A. Umezulike- have been arrested and currently in detention at the SSS office.
In a report by Vanguard newspaper, DSS access to the bank accounts of the detained judges and revealed that they had been taking bribes from many sources in the discharge of their duties but used the names and pictures of their wives, children and siblings to open such banks account.
“When we brought in most of the children, wives and relatives of the suspects based on the papers we got from the banks, they did not even have an idea that their names had been used by the judges to open such accounts. “But you see under the Bank Verification Number, you must put in your passports, name, signature and others. So, for some of the judges, who used fake names and their wives names to open the accounts into which they paid in the proceeds of crime, they foolishly appended their signatures or used their pictures, something that gave them out.
“From what we have found out, some of the suspects acted foolishly in committing the offence because they cannot prove that even if their children were to earn N1 million monthly since they were born till date, none of them can accumulate the amount of money we have traced to their accounts and the type of property they have.
“Look, it may interest you to know that one of the two Supreme Court judges in our custody has a property worth N1.5 billion in one of the South-South states. If we may ask, where did he get the money to set up such project?” “As far as we are concerned, there is nothing unusual in arresting corrupt judges and taking them to court because it would be an offence against the nation to continue to turn a blind eye to mounting corruption in the judiciary.’’
The report also pointed that another judge, who is being detained and questioned, disguised as a shopper in one of the supermarkets and ended up collecting bribes in Dollars from a ‘client’ only to be caught on CCTV camera. Commenting on the botched arrest of a judge in Rivers by Governor Nyesom Wike, the official wondered what Mr Wike went to do at that time of the night, if he was not part of the judge’s deal.
“It was the governor, who blocked the DSS operatives from seizing the $2 million crime proceeds, which the judge had made from the PDP crisis stoked by a faction backed by the governor. “But for the our highly professional operatives and service direction, we would have beaten up Wike that night so that he would have explanations to make on why he went to a crime scene at odd hours and aided a suspect to move $2 million crime proceeds to an unknown location. “But we already have an idea of where the money was moved to and we are going to retrieve it and bring the judge to trial. As a matter of fact, we are going to treat the Port Harcourt FHC judge case as a ‘special case’, given his collusion with the governor to obstruct our work.
“The behaviour of the judge has worsened his case. In the last three months, the judge has been going across the Nigerian borders with other countries collecting bribes for himself and others.’’
The source also indicated that the judges might be allowed to go home as soon as they answered the questions put to them by the operatives, adding that they were being given royal treatment, in view of their status and the need to give them a conducive atmosphere to speak up. Meanwhile, Police authorities are set to sanction the commissioner of police in Rivers state, Francis Odesanya for his role in the foiled arrest of a judge of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt by Rivers state governor, Nyesome Wike.