A senior Nigerian judge falsely claimed he had suffered a bereavement to get cash from litigants and lawyers appearing in his court, the country’s main judicial body said Thursday.
James Agbadu-Fishim “received various sums of money from litigants and lawyers that had cases before him and some influential Nigerians under the false pretence that he was bereaved or that there was a delay in the payment of his salary”, the National Judicial Council said in a statement.
The judge sits in the National Industrial Court but has now been “recommended for removal by dismissal from office”, it added. The amount of money involved was not specified.
A similar recommendation was made against another judge, Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, after it was established that government officials, among others, had paid money into her bank accounts.
Again, no figure was specified. Ofili-Ajumogobia is a federal high court judge and is facing a separate case over corruption allegations.
Both have been suspended with immediate effect, pending a decision on their future by President Muhammadu Buhari the NJC said.
Buhari came to power in 2015 on a pledge to clean up Nigerian public life, which has been tainted with rampant corruption and impunity for decades.
In Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2017, Nigeria was viewed as the 27th most corrupt country in the world.
It has said an independent, professional and well-resourced judiciary is a bulwark against graft.