By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—The National Judicial Council, NJC, at the end of its two-day crucial meeting in Abuja, yesterday, found the former Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, Justice Hassan Gunmi, who had resigned to become an Emir in Zamfara State, guilty of judicial corruption.
In a statement yesterday, the council said it was satisfied that the ex-CJ perverted the course of justice in a case involving a company, Nestello Gateway Group, and the Governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Abubakar Yari.
Describing the conduct of Justice Gunmi pertaining to the case as “most unethical and highly reprehensible,” NJC said it decided not to take punitive measures against him considering that he had voluntarily bowed out of office.
The council, however, warned that “henceforth, any similar misconduct by any judicial officer will be visited with severe sanctions.
It also issued a stern warning to Justice M.A. Onyetenu of the Federal High Court for granting ex-parte order without hearing the pending motion and applications in a suit between one Evangelist Charity Akah, Alpaca Price Nigeria Limited and another.
The statement, by the acting Director of Information of NJC, Mr. Soji Oye, said: “National Judicial Council at its 63rd meeting, which was held on July 17 and 18, deliberated on the report and recommendation of its committee.
“The committee investigated the petition forwarded to it by Nestello Gateway Group in Suit No. FCT/HC/CV/486/10 against Justice Hassan Gummi, former Chief Judge of High Court of FCT, Abuja.
“At the end of deliberation, council accepted the findings of its committee that Justice Gummi, interfered with the execution of the judgment delivered by Justice Jude Okeke of the FCT High Court, Abuja, in the suit between Nestello Gateway Group and Alhaji Abubakar Yari, a former National Assembly member and current Governor of Zamfara State, in which execution had already been levied in favour of the petitioner.
“Council found the interference by Justice Gummi in the execution of the judgment as most unethical and highly reprehensible.”
Meanwhile, the council adjourned hearing on petitions against other judges across the federation, accused of involvement in acts of corruption, till its next sitting.
“Council also accepted the recommendation of its investigation committee that Justice Gummi was guilty of gross misconduct contrary to Rule 1(i) of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which would have led to his removal from office.
“Council also warned Hon. Justice M. A. Onyetenu of the Federal High Court for granting Ex-parte Order without hearing the pending motion on notice and applications in Suit No. FHC/PH/CS/236/2012 between Evangelist Charity Akah vs. Alpaca Price Nigeria Limited and Another.”
“Council, however, took cognizance of the fact that Justice Gummi has already voluntarily retired from service and consequently decided not to recommend his removal from office.
“Council decided that henceforth, any similar misconduct by any judicial officer in the Federation will be visited with severe sanctions.