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Amaechi 'I didn't try to bribe any judge,' Minister dismisses allegation

Amaechi said the allegation of attempted bribery against him is a shameless attempt to politicise the recent arrest of judges.

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The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has dismissed the allegations of attempted bribery brought against him by  Justice Inyang Okoro.

He said the Supreme Court judge is acting like a child and trying to shamelessly trivialise the allegations of corruption against him and his colleagues.

Amaechi said this in Abuja on Wednesday, October 19, in a statement signed by him.

Justice Okoro, who was one of the judges recently arrested by the Department of State Service (DSS) over alleged corruption, had in a letter to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, alleged that Amaechi attempted to bribe him to influence the outcome of the governorship election cases in Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Abia states.

He said the Minister and the All Progressives Congress governorship candidate for Akwa Ibom State, Mr Umana Umana, visited him and pleaded that the cases, which were pending before the Supreme court be ruled in favour of the APC.

Justice Okoro also alleged that the Minister told him President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC were interested in the cases.

According to him, his refusal to dance to Amaechi and the APC's tune was why he was arrested by the DSS.

In his statement, Amaechi denied ever having such discussion with Justice Okoro or any judge for that matter.

He stated: "My attention has been drawn to a letter purportedly written by Honourable Justice Inyang Okoro, Justice of the Supreme Court, one of the judges recently arrested by the DSS as part of its investigation into the allegations of massive corruption involving some officers of the judiciary.

"Given the level of mischief in the social media, I would ordinarily have ignored the letter because the allegations contained in the said letter are wild, baseless and unrelated to the issues in contention between the Justice of the Supreme Court and the Department of State Services. To that extent, I had grave reservation that this letter emanated from his lordship.

"However, for the avoidance of doubt, let me say clearly that I have never discussed any matter pending before the Supreme Court of Nigeria with my lord, Honourable Justice Inyang Okoro, in his house or anywhere else.

"I make bold to also state that the only time I have ever spoken with the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, was at the inauguration of the Abuja-Kaduna Railway project on the 26th of July, 2016 at Idu in Abuja."

He described the allegation of attempted bribery levelled against him by the judge as shameful and a serious national tragedy.

Amaechi further said: "I believe that the issue of corruption at the highest level of our judiciary should be addressed objectively. It is to say the least demeaning and childish of a Justice of the Supreme Court to imply that the security operatives of our nation will arrest a Justice of our Supreme Court for no reason other than the instructions of a minister.

"Those faced with serious allegations should treat the issue with the seriousness it deserves and stop trying to court public sympathy and trivialise what is clearly a national tragedy."

He has directed legal representative "to contact Justice Okoro and take whatever legal steps necessary to clear my (Amaechi) name of this baseless allegation."

ALSO READ: Nigerians react to allegations of bribery against Amaechi

Amaechi asked the Justice Okoro to be "objective in dealing with the issue at hand and not whip up unnecessary sentiments against innocent public officers."

He stressed that he has no influence on the DSS, adding that he would focus on his job as the Minister of Transportation and not be dragged into unrelated matters.

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