The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Sunday said its attention has been drawn to reports on social media on the October 8, 2019 incident at the Federal High Court, Ibadan in which Justice Joyce Obehin Abdulmalik openly chastised S. M. Galadanchi, a prosecutor of the EFCC.
A statement from EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, said Justice Abdulmalik reportedly chastised the EFCC lawyer for visiting her home with the intent of influencing her decision in a case pending before the Judge.
Uwujaren explained that following the outburst, the Nigerian Bar Association, through its National Publicity Secretary, Kunle Edun, issued a statement appreciating the conduct of Justice Abdulmalik while upbraiding the EFCC as one of the agents of state trying to destroy the judiciary.
He said while the EFCC appreciates the concern of members of the bar over the incident, especially as the purported conduct is at variance with rules of professional conduct, the Commission considers the NBA statement as hasty.
He said, as an association that places a premium on ethics and regulates the conduct of its members, the EFCC would have expected the NBA to delay its response until a proper investigation of the circumstances leading to the alleged outburst by his Lordship.
“For this reason, the EFCC will gladly assist the NBA to investigate the circumstances that led to the outburst by Justice Abdulmalik,” he stated.
He said, however, “Facts available to the Commission makes the open chastisement of Barrister Galadanchi by Justice Abdulmalik curious and intriguing.”
The facts as established by the EFCC is that Galadanchi was actually at the home of Justice Abdulmalik sometime in July 2019.
He said the context of the visit had no connection with the case pending before his Lordship, nor was the counsel there to influence her to rule in his favor in any case.
Galadanchi’s presence in her home was a coincidence as he didn’t know that it was the residence of his Lordship.
Uwujaren said, “According to the council, he had accompanied his fiancé, a Ph.D. candidate from the Ahmadu Bello University to meet with her uncle who unknown to him is the husband of Justice Abdulmalik.”
“According to him, himself and his partner had already arrived at the premises of his Lordship when he sighted a vehicle with a Federal High Court registration number and he immediately indicated a desire to leave.
“Unfortunately, their host, Justice AbdulMalik’s husband who had been expecting them was already at the doorway and prevailed on him to stay.
“He recalls that when his Lordship came into the living room and saw him, she expressed her displeasure and left for another living room.
“He noted that after the meeting, his fiancé’s uncle led them to meet Justice AbulMalik where she sat and Galadanchi apologized to her for his innocent presence in her home and she accepted the apology.
“It was, therefore, shocking that his Lordship waited until three months after to raise the visit in an open court,” the EFCC statement said.