The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad, has ordered the Judicial Service Committee (JSC) of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to immediately initiate disciplinary action against Justice Gambo Garba of the Upper Area Court, Zuba, for issuing a direct criminal summon against a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo.
Soludo is presently the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the November 6, Anambra State gubernatorial election.
The judge had on July 15 issued the criminal charges against Soludo over alleged serial abuse of office and breach of Code of Conduct for public officers when he was the governor of CBN between May 29, 2004 and May 29, 2009.
OBSERVERS TIMES earlier reports that trial on criminal charges on false declaration of assets is exclusively vested in the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) but the Upper Area Court Judge assumed jurisdiction contrary to the provisions of the 1999 constitution.
A source, who preferred anonymity, said the FCT Judicial Service Committee, under the chairmanship of the Acting Chief Judge, Justice Hussein Baba Yusuf, is billed to discipline the Judge.
The acting Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory is expected to submit his findings to the CJN within 21 days.
The direct criminal complaint against Soludo was brought pursuant to sections 88 and 89 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.
It was filed by one Oliver Bitrus, who complained that between the periods Prof. Soludo held office as a public officer, he flagrantly breached the Code of Conduct for public officers by buying or acquiring interest in a property known and described as No. 50 Brondesbury Park, London, NW6 7AT, United Kingdom. The property is covered by file plan of tile no. MX362301.
Oliver also claimed that the property was bought or acquired using a proxy and/ or nominee company known as Universal Energy Company Limited, and which investigation revealed was incorporated in the Isle of Man; and now used to round-trip public funds for the purchase. As a matter fact, purchase price of £2,150, 000 was paid on October 20, 2006 in a single tranche, which sum was not fairly attributable to his income as the governor of CBN at the material time.
Further investigation also disclosed that presently the property is being occupied by the defendant, his spouse and children and used as their personal and official addresses for all their companies and other business undertaking.
The complainant had listed companies owned and operated by Soludo and domiciled at the said property to include:
i. Zinora Limited: A private company owned by Mrs. Nonye Soludo (spouse of Chukwuma Charles Soludo). This is a company limited by shares which was registered on January 29, 2013, with company no: 8379214 and also has its registered office at No. 50 Brondesbury Park, London, NW6 7AT, United Kingdom.