BEVERLY HILLS, October 13, (THEWILL) – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has explained how one of its prosecution lawyers, S.M. Galadanchi paid an unethical visit to the residence of Justice Joyce Obehin AbdulMalik, who was hearing a matter involving the agency and a defendant who was not identified.
Wilson Uwajaren, the spokesman of the EFCC in a statement Sunday explained thus: “The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission , EFCC, has been drawn to reports in the 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 for visiting her home with the intent of influencing her decision in a case pending before his Lordship.
Following the outburst, even the Nigerian Bar Association, through its National Publicity Secretary, Kunle Edun, issued a statement commending the conduct of Justice AbdulMalik while upbraiding the EFCC as one of the agents of state trying to destroy the judiciary.
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.
As an association which places 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, by which time all the parties would have been availed the opportunity to state their case.
The EFCC, like the NBA, does not condone bad behaviour by its staffers, and will punish any act of omission or commission that could impugn its collective integrity. For this reason, the EFCC will gladly assist the NBA to investigate the circumstances that led to the outburst by Justice AbdulMalik.
However, without prejudice to the outcome of any investigation by the bar, it is important to state that 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. But the context of the visit had no nexus with the case pending before his Lordship, nor was the counsel there to influence her to rule in his favour in any case.
Indeed Galadanchi’s presence in her home was a coincidence as he didn’t know that it was the residence of his Lordship.
According to the counsel, he had accompanied his fiancé, a P.hD 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 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 apologised 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.
What is clear from the facts as established, is that Galadanchi didn’t go to the home of Justice AbdulMalik to solicit for conviction of any defendant, neither was he there to discuss cases he is prosecuting. He was led there by love, which exist between him and Justice AbdulMalik’s sister-in-law.”