Barely 48 hours after the Department of State Services, DSS, had taken 7 suspected corrupt judges into its custody, details of what led to their arrests and how they were picked up from their homes by operatives of the agency began to emerge.
Competent sources close to the operations disclosed that the DSS could no longer watch and allow corrupt judges use their positions to engage in sabotage, subversion and espionage latching on huge proceeds of corruption.
A source told Vanguard that unknown to most Nigerians, some of the judges had been collecting huge bribes to subvert the will of the people, using the proceeds to acquire choice property and build fat bank accounts without putting in enough efforts to do the job they were paid to do.
The source said that based on series of petitions from concerned Nigerians to checkmate the excesses of the corrupt judges, the DSS moved in and began a covert investigation, which finally led to the establishment of prima facie evidence against them.
“As we speak now, we have incontrovertible evidence of brazen corruption against the seven judges in our custody and we are ready to charge them to court, even tomorrow. By our own analysis, the rot in the political scene – election rigging, inter and intra-party crises and election petition trial from tribunal to Supreme Court – gave rise to the deep corruption in the judiciary.
“In the economic sphere, Nigeria lost cases to foreign investors due to the collusion of judges with foreigners, leading to the loss of hundreds of billions of Naira by the country, among them, the Malabo Oil deal where the country lost over $2 billion.
“We have the mandate not only to pre-empt and prevent but also to take necessary actions to bring the culprits of economic and financial crimes to book.
“That is why we are challenging those who think that our action is unconstitutional to take us to court since we cannot allow Nigeria’s security interest to be jeopardised. “Let it be known that anybody whose action can create hardship for the rest of Nigerians must be stopped by us before the crime is committed and there is no other agency that is as capable of doing that as the DSS,’’ the source said.
It was learned that the DSS had access to the accounts of the detained judges and actually established 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, which were not known to most of those whose names appeared in the bank ledgers.
“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 official also pointed out 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.