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Nigeria’s chief anti-graft judge faces graft charges

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Judge Danladi Umar

Judge Danladi Umar

A Nigerian judge heading a tribunal purposely established to tackle corruption in the civil service faces accusations of engaging in graft.

Judge Danladi Yakubu Umar, the chairperson of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, a tribunal that ranks equally with the High Court in the Nigerian Judiciary, is being accused by the national anti-graft body, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, of accepting bribes to scupper a case against an individual identified as Rasheed Taiwo in 2012.

“You Danladi Yakubu Umar…did ask for the sum of ₦10 million…for the favor to be afterwards shown to him in relation to the pending charge…,” read the charge sheet.

He’s also accused of soliciting a further ₦1.8 million from Mr. Taiwo, obtained by his personal assistant on his behalf.

It’s unclear why it has taken this long to present the case against the CCT chairman, and its timing coincides with a period of conflict between the two institutions.

In June, Judge Umar cleared current Nigerian Senate President, Bukola Saraki, of 18 corruption charges stemming from this tenure as the Governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011. The EFCC appealed against this, and managed to get a retrial on three cases.

Meanwhile, the EFCC is in a tango with the Senate, which has now twice refused to confirm its acting head, Ibrahim Magu, as the chair of the anti-graft body; the senate suspects that he may be venal.

37% of GDP

Corruption remains a persistent problem in Nigeria: a survey by Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics found out that nearly 1 in 3 adult Nigerians had to part with a bribe to secure public services, yet hardly anyone reported such incidences, despite corruption seriously hampering Nigeria’s growth.

A PriceWaterhouseCoopers report projects that left unchecked, corruption would gobble up 37% of Nigeria’s GDP by 2030, or about $2,000 per Nigerian.