Senior and junior workers of Kano Sharia Court, located at the Audu Bako Secretariat, have deserted their offices for fear of arrest by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over rankling corruption in the sector.  

It was learnt that on Monday afternoon, there was a stampede as staff and members of the judicial workers’ union took cover upon sighting some men dressed in corporate outfits arriving the court premises, who they feared were EFCC operatives. 

Kano State Anti-Corruption and Public Complaints Commission, chaired by Muhuyi Magaji Rimingado, had reportedly threatened to forward corruption cases being investigated by the agency to EFCC for prosecution.

The threat followed a judgment by Justice A. T. Badamasi of High Court 5, Kano, overruling the investigation of the Judiciary staff for alleged corrupt practices. The court had said the commission had no power to entertain complaints on the Sharia Court workers’ alleged corrupt acts because the matter was before the court in Suit CV/112/2014.

The judge further said letters of invitation issued to the workers for investigation of their activities over the matter that is pending before a court of competence jurisdiction were ultra vires.

The court cautioned the commission, saying it could only investigate Judiciary staff when it followed due process, which is to notify the Chief Judge of Kano who is also Chairman, State Judicial Service Commission.

In his reaction, Rimingado said the anti-graft body would appeal the judgment, which he considered a calculated attempt to frustrate and hinder the body’s work.

He cited a section of the law that empowers the anti-graft body to investigate any public officer, no matter his/her position, as enshrined in Kano State Law No. 2 of 2008 as amended in 2009.

Rimingado said it was never known to the commission that the matter was before a competent court of law, as the High Court has ruled; neither was the body aware that the Chief Judge must be notified before investigating any judicial worker.

He expressed worry that the Judiciary in Kano State faces a huge challenge of alleged corrupt practices, as the case of Justice Auta who was recently dismissed by the National Judicial Council (NJC) shows.

"Even when we clearly have a case of corruption and our investigations are yielding positive results, the court would issue ex parte motions stopping us.  Like now, we have about four.  This shows that the judiciary is all out to frustrate us from doing our job. Hence, we have no other option but to move the case to our sister anti-corruption body for investigation,” he added.

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