- Investigations by detectives have revealed huge cash payments to Supreme Court Justices, members of the management and staff of the apex court
- The payments were reportedly done through a secret account with outrageous allowances paid to the judiciary outside the approved allowance by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC)
Recent investigations by detectives have revealed huge cash payments to Supreme Court Justices, members of the management and staff of the apex court, The Nation is reporting.
The payments were reportedly done through a secret account with outrageous allowances paid to the judiciary outside the approved allowance by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).
The allowances include cash for justices and management staff during festivities, especially Easter, Christmas, Ramadan and Eid-el Kabir.
The breakdown of what the past and present CJN and Justices have been receiving since 2009 is as follows: Salary—N750,000 (paid into account of each Justice); N750,000 monthly subsidy—(payment in cash); N950,000 quarterly subsidy (payment in cash); £10,000 (estacode) for trips (payment in cash); $25,000 (medical fees yearly (payment in cash); Unspecified payment for Business Class to them and spouses in cash depending on airline; $750 per night for number of days abroad in cash; N350,000 cash as welfare for each of the festivities (Easter, Christmas, Ramadan, Eid-el-Kabir); Chief Registrar—N700,000 as robe allowance; N200,000 for each of the festivities (in cash); and other lawyers—N500,000 as yearly dress allowance (In cash).
RMAFC approvals for CJN and the Justices as including regular salary and allowances: Monthly Basic Salary; Vehicle Maintenance/Fuelling; Personal Assistant; Domestic Staff; Entertainment; Utilities; Outfit; and Newspapers/Periodicals
Speaking with a top security source, the source said; “Detectives have unearthed all manner of allowances which were paid and still being paid to Supreme Court Justices since 2009 from a Secret/Illegal/ Operation Account.
“Their Non-Regular Salary and allowances include: Accommodation (once annually); furniture (once in four years); annual leave bonus; severance/gratuity (after successful tenure); vehicle loan (optional); Duty Tour Allowance per night (where applicable) and Estacode per night (where applicable).
“In fact, one of the arrested Justices was in December 2014 paid N2million as a mark of welfare from the court to support him for his daughter’s wedding.
“So, we discovered a lot of discrepancies in the allowances being paid to the past Chief Justices of Nigeria and Justices of the Supreme Court since 2009. Even four of the Justices who are beneficiaries of the monetisation policy still earned double allowances.
“Technically, everyone was paid all these unauthorised allowances from the operation account based on the computation of the management. Nobody knows how the allowances were arrived at.
“And the situation has not changed. We have documents showing that all the Justices were paid N910, 000 in April and N710, 000 in May as allowances.”
On the status of the Operation Account, a document confirmed that one of the officials of the Supreme Court told DSS interrogators: “All these payments, except the salary, are paid in cash to the Justices which they signed for collection. I am aware that has been the tradition but I am not sure of any written authority backing the payment.
“None of the Justices has ever, to my knowledge, refused payment of medical fees given to them.”
But the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Ahmed Gambo Saleh has denied involvement in any fraud or sharp practices in the apex court.
He said he was never involved in any bribe deal or in the management of Operation Account.
“I have never directed anyone to pay the sum of either N12million or N18million to any Justice of the Supreme Court. I am aware the practice of cash payment is not in line with financial regulations but that has been the tradition I met in the court.
“But on assuming office, I stopped cash payments to staff; all payments are now paid into their accounts. The Operation Account is in Ahmed Fagbenro’s name (the Cashier); I don’t know how much is the balance in the account,” he said.