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Justice Mohammed Liman, the Federal High Court Judge whose attempted arrest by the Department of State Security Service (DSS) was blocked by Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike has been quoted as denying the allegation of stashing $2million in his home.
This is even as DSS sources said Liman allegedly took bribes from Governor Nyesom Wike to give favourable judgment to the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The sources also accused the judge of habitually crossing Nigerian borders to allegedly receive bribes from litigants.
The DSS had attempted to arrest the Judge, but his arrest was frustrated by Governor Wike sprang up late night to obstruct the arrest
Wike is alleged to have helped the Judge to move the $2million allegedly stashed in his home, but the Judge has denied the allegation.
“I’m not asking anybody to believe or disbelieve whether I stashed $2m, an amount that is equivalent to about N1b,” TheNigerianLawyer quoted the judge as saying in a statement.
“Perhaps you might think the SSS probably exaggerated the amount, but all these would have been relevant considerations if they had actually searched my house.
“If I had $2m or even a quarter of it I would have abandoned this horrible profession that has lost its dignity. In fact I have already lost interest in it and have made up my mind to say bye bye to it. I believe there is a life beyond every other thing.”
Giving more details into the matter, top official of the DSS told Premium Times on Sunday that operatives were still tracking Mr. Liman and would ensure his arrest in the coming days after the initial attempt was thwarted by Mr. Wike.
The source said Mr. Liman allegedly took bribes to subvert justice in the leadership tussle within the PDP which has left the party factionalised for several months.
Mr. Liman’s July ruling authenticated the Ahmed Makarfi faction of the PDP which had been deemed illegal by Justice Okon Abang.
The PDP crisis culminated in another botched convention in August, although the opposing parties are currently working to end the quagmire.
“We received a petition that he (Mr. Liman) received bribes to give his ruling and our investigations confirmed it,” a top SSS official said.
The source added that Mr. Liman is “also a distributor” who receives bribes on behalf of other judges and helps distribute it.
“He travels across the border to Ghana, Republic of Benin and other West African countries to meet lawyers in hotels to take bribes for himself and his colleagues on the bench,” he said.
The source also said the amount involved in Mr. Liman’s botched arrest on Saturday morning was actually $2.5 million, and gave more explanation as to why operatives’ failed to arrest the judge or get the money.
“The vehicle that was used to cart away the $2million was faster than our men’s own,” the source said. “They just couldn’t catch up with them at such a high speed. It’s like chasing a 7-cylinder vehicle with a 3-cylinder.”
“We will arrest him in coming days; we have no doubt about this as we have enough evi?dence to nail him in court. By bringing Governor Wike in, he has worsened his own case.”
But Governor Nyesom Wike whom the SSS blamed for interfering to frustrate the planned Friday night arrest of Mr. Liman, in a statement early Sunday dismissed the allegations as an attempt by the SSS to divert attention from its gross desecration of the constitution.?
The SSS “concocted” the allegations to justify an “unconstitutional assault on the nation’s judiciary,” Mr. Wike said.
Mr. Wike said he didn’t know the judge, but he moved in to prevent him from being taken away because the mode of the SSS arrest did not comply with the dictates of the law.
“In the police, erring and corrupt policemen are first given orderly room trial, sacked and then appropriately prosecuted,” Mr. Wike said. “For judicial officers, the SSS has no role.”
“I am not in support of any judicial support being involved in corruption,” but “this impunity must stop.”