Caught in the act! Nigerian magistrate pilfering frozen bank account of petitioner

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Three magistrates and a registrar of the Kano High Court are facing serious disciplinary action for misconduct, as one of the magistrates was caught attempting to steal money from a frozen bank account of a petitioner.
The Kano State Judicial Service Commission announced this on Monday in a statement by Daba Jibo-Ibrahim, the JSC spokesman.

It said: “The Judicial Service Commission, at its 72nd meeting held on June 11, 2024, considered petitions against the three magistrates and one registrar in the state.

“The magistrates are Chief Magistrate Talatu Makama, Senior Magistrate Rabi Abdulkadir, Chief Magistrate Tijjani Saleh-Minjibir, and Senior Registrar Abdu Nasir.

“These disciplinary actions underscore the Judicial Service Commission’s commitment to maintaining the highest standards of judicial conduct and ensuring the integrity of the legal system.”

The statement said that the Judiciary Public Complaints Committee’s investigation of three petitions filed against Ms. Makama found her guilty of misconduct.

According to the statement, the investigation revealed that she ordered GTBank to transfer money from a petitioner’s already frozen account into her personal account, which she clearly admitted in her response.

It said the second petition also found elements amounting to judicial bias in her handling of matters.

In the third petition, the statement reveals that she received a case and gave an order to the police before they assigned it to her.

“The commission subsequently held that Chief Magistrate Talatu be recalled from the bench and relieved of all judicial duties effective immediately,” Jibo-Ibrahim said.

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He said the JSC also indicted Senior Magistrate Rabi Abdulkadir for judicial recklessness.

“The commission has resolved to recall the magistrate and relieve her of judicial duties for a period of one calendar year and has instructed her to cease all duties at Magistrate Court No. 48,” he said.

He further said that the investigation revealed that senior registrar Abdu Nasir received payments of fees meant for court records into his personal account, which constitutes serious misconduct.

“The commission issued a strong warning to Nasir and also deferred his promotion for one year.”

The statement also said that the commission deliberated on the petitions received against Chief Magistrate Tijjani Saleh-Minjibir at its 73rd meeting.

“The response to the queries issued was found unsatisfactory, and the commission viewed the actions of the magistrate amount to serious misconduct and judicial recklessness.

“Saleh-Minjibir is recalled from judicial duties for a period of one year, effective immediately, and all judicial activities have ceased,” Jibo-Ibrahim said.

He said the suspended magistrate was to report to the Kano High Court for posting.

The statement said the commission would continue applying appropriate sanctions against any erring staff, particularly those saddled with judicial responsibilities.

The measures are aimed at protecting the judicial system’s integrity and accountability while also upholding the public’s trust, he stated.

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