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Corruption Judges, judicial workers barred from accepting gifts

The new Judicial Policy also stipulates that complaints against judges and court staff must be kept from the media.

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The National Judicial Council (NJC) has barred judges and other court staff from accepting gifts from other arms of government.

The ban follows the recent clampdown on judges by the Department of State Service (DSS) over allegations of corruption.

Any form of lobbying of other arms of government by the judiciary or any of its institutions has also been outlawed - the move is aimed at curbing corruption and other unethical conduct among judicial officers.

The measures are part of a new National Judicial Policy (NJP) to be launched in Abuja on Monday, October 23, it was learnt.

According to the existing Code of Conduct for judicial officers, "a judge and members of his/her family shall neither ask for nor accept any gift, bequest, favour, or loan on account of anything done or omitted to be done by him in the discharge of his duties.

"But, the provision in the new policy particularly bars judges and other court staff from accepting gifts from other arms of government, and made compliance mandatory."

Section 2(3)(2) of the new policy states: "The Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers and Code of Conduct for Court Employees, with the amendment discouraging acceptance of gifts from other arms of government, should be such as would be adequate. Compliance with their provisions shall be mandatory.

"All arms of government should respect the doctrine of Separation of Powers as enshrined in the Constitution."

Section 2(2)(4) to 2(2)(9) of the new policy also provides that complaint against judges and other court staff be kept from the media and public domain.

It states further: "It shall be the policy of the judiciary on complaints of misconduct against judicial officers or employees of the judiciary shall not be leaked or published in the media.

"Where complaints on allegations against judicial officers and court employees are submitted for investigation, the complainant or complainants shall be made to give an undertaking not to do anything to prejudice investigation or actions that may be taken.

"The institutions of the judiciary concerned with investigation or/and implementation of decisions taken on such complaints shall be obliged to cease further action where such complaints are leaked or discussed in the media.

"Where such a leakage is occasioned after the submission of a complaint, then all investigations on the complaints shall be suspended, the leakage investigated and if such leakage is from the complainant or through other parties known to such a complainant, such a complaint should be discarded.

"Where such leakage is occasioned prior to the presentation of the complaint and the source of the leakage is found to be the complainant or through other parties known to and connected with the complainant, then such complaint shall not be accepted, upon submission, by the appropriate disciplinary body.

"On conclusion of investiga-tion, the disciplinary bodies may allow public disclosure of their findings, subject to following the proper channels."

ALSO READ: NBA calls for suspension of arrested judges

More than seven judges of the Supreme, High and Appeal courts allegedly involved in corrupt practices have in the past weeks been subjected to scrutiny by the DSS and Nigerians following the raid on their homes and subsequent arrests.

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