Friday, September 25, 2020

APC legal adviser steps down after being accused of corruption

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Dr. Muiz Adeyemi Banire (SAN) has stepped down from his position as the the National Legal Adviser of the All Progressives Congress (APC), after it was alleged that he bribed a judge with N500,000.

In a letter to APC’s National Chairman Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, President Buhari and Osinbajo, he offered to step down so that the EFCC could investigate him of the allegation.

“The allegation, as I have come to understand it, is that a Statement of Account of one judge of the National Industrial Court, the Honourable Justice J. T. Agbadu-Fishim, who is the subject of an ongoing EFCC’s investigation, contained a June 2013 entry of a ‘N500,000.00’ payment ascribed as being from one ‘Dr. Muiz B’.

“I did not hesitate in confirming that this probably referred to me because I remember that about three years ago, I received a text message from someone I recollected at the time to be an old colleague in my days as a lecturer at the University of Lagos, an ‘Agbadu-Fishim’ who was then a Research Fellow at the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, informing me of the death and funeral programme of his mother.

“The last contact (of any sort) I had with this person before that text would have been about 14 years earlier, that is, before I was appointed Special Adviser to the Governor of Lagos State at the inception of civil rule in 1999 (now 17 years ago).

“As I have now come to realise after my interactions with the EFCC, that payment is being investigated from the angle of whether or not it was to influence the receiver in the performance of his judicial duties on the Bench of the National Industrial Court.

“This is perfectly understandable to me within the general context of the investigation in which the allegation had arisen, and considering that I have lately come to also realise that two of my colleagues in chambers had been involved as defence counsel in two cases before the subject judge amongst 12 cases in all they have ever done at the Industrial Court since inception.

“My review of the two case files which I came to be conscious of after my interactions with the EFCC shows that one of them was amicably settled between the parties for a sum less than N1.2m, thereby technically losing the case, whilst they won the other and that the combined professional fees (net of taxes) for the two cases was less than N2m.

“While protesting my innocence, and will therefore do everything within legal limits to defend myself, I have, from the first instance, become aware of the allegation, offered my full cooperation to the EFCC and will continue to cooperate with, and give it all the assistance it may require of me in the course of its ongoing investigation into the matter.”


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