SERAP asked the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Pinto to compel the National Judicial Council (NJC) to suspend the two legal luminaries.
This is coming on the heels of an accusation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alleging that Tarfa of bribed Justice Yunusa with the sum of N225,000.
SERAP asked Pinto to compel the National Judicial Council (NJC) to suspend the two legal luminaries.
An excerpt of the petition dated February 19, 2016, which was signed by the group’s Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, and obtained from Premium Times, reads “SERAP is concerned that despite these serious allegations of bribery and corruption, the National Judicial Council has failed and/or refused to suspend the judge involved pending any investigation and/or trial of the judge. Similarly, the Nigerian Bar Association has failed and/or refused to ask the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee to suspend the senior lawyer involved pending the final determination of the case against him.”
The statement also said “SERAP is concerned that the allegations of bribery and corruption such as the alleged payment and receipt of N225,000 threaten the very essence of the independence of the judiciary and the actors in the legal profession.”
Adding that “Such allegations also severely undermine the rule of law, the public’s confidence in the judiciary, raise the cost for judicial services because litigation is driven by corruption instead of by the legal process, discourage people from resorting to the formal justice system, and ultimately victimise the most disadvantaged sectors of the population who do not have the means to play by the informal rules set by a corrupt system.
“The allegations also undermine fair competition and economic growth, as there is a clear correlation between the level of economic activity in a country and an effective judiciary combating corruption.”
Rickey Tarfa has however denied the allegation, saying the money was a donation for the burial of Justice Mohammed Yunusa’s father-in-law.