NJC Bars Judicial Workers From Accepting Gratifications

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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 which 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, 2016 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 investigation, the disciplinary
bodies may allow public disclosure of their findings, subject to following the
proper channels.”

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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