NJC debunks N10 billion bribe allegation against its secretariat, Ahmed Saleh 

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By Our Reporters

The National Judicial Council (NJC), has dismissed a N10 billion bribe allegation levelled against its Secretary, Ahmed Saleh.
A media report by an online news platform, Peoples Gazette, quoted on one Aliyu Mohammed as writing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) where he accused Mr Saleh of embezzling N2.2 billion from the Supreme Court.

 Mr Mohammed who claimed to have written the petition on be half of a faceless group, ‘Concerned Staff of the Supreme Court,’ also accused Mr Saleh of receiving bribes from some Supreme Court contractors and selling off a property belonging to the apex court at the Aso Rock Villa.
However, reacting to the “fictitious” claims which was published by Peoples Gazette, on Friday, NJC’s Director of Information, Barr Soji Oye, said Mr Saleh was only appointed Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court in 2014 prior to 2009 that the malicious report claimed. 

Mr Oye in a statement issued on Friday said, “Mr Sale could not have diverted the said funds prior to his appointments.”

The NJC while faulting the petition claimed that Mr Saleh is the Secretary of the NJC and not the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court as contained in the publication by Peoples Gazette.

“The attention of the National Judicial Council (NJC) has been drawn to the fallacious publication by an online newspaper Peoples Gazette accusing the Secretary of the National Judicial Council, Ahmed Gambo Saleh of involvement in “N10 billion bribe and federal racketeering,” the statement said.
It noted that the author of the “fictitious petition and publication (Peoples Gazette) did not name a single contractor from whom the purported N10 billion was alleged to have been collected.”

Mr Saleh didn’t sell off Supreme Court property
The petioner accused Mr Saleh of “conniving with one Mr Surajo Tanko, purported to be son of the immediate past CJN, to sell off the residence of a Supreme Court Justice in the Aso Rock villa without the knowledge of Honourable Justice Dr I.T Muhammad GCON.” 

But debunking the allegation, the NJC disclosed that the said property located on 10 Ibrahim Taiwo Street on the way to the Villa was once occupied by the then CJN (Mr Muhammad) before he relocated to his official residence.

“The house was next to House No: 11 occupied by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), and on their request and approval by President Muhammadu Buhari for an expansion of NFIU office, both houses were demolished for that purpose. Another house within the Villa was, however, approved for the use of the Supreme Court,” the statement clarified.

On the issue of “withholding funds meant for purchasing exotic vehicles usually assigned to newly sworn in Justices of the Supreme Court,” the NJC said Mr Saleh is no longer the Chief Registrar of the apex court.

“Mr Ahmed Gambo Saleh as the NJC Secretary does not superintend over the affairs of the Supreme Court because they are two distinct entities.

“On the allegation of diverting N2.2 billion from to his personal United Bank for Africa (UBA) account number 2027642863, the truth is that the said account is the operational account of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, which can be verified by anyone

“Besides, the N2.2 billion was the total transaction in the account of the Supreme Court from 2009 to 2016.”

The statement added that “the petitioner only used the said (bank) account number which does not belong to Mr Saleh to deliberately and maliciously mislead members of the public.”

In a telephone conversation, on Friday, EFCC’s Public Relations Officer, Wilson Uwujaren, said he was not aware of any pending petition against the NJC Secretary. 

Dark forces out to impugn Mr Saleh’s integrity’

The NJC said the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar  Malami, withdrew the N2.2 billion charges against Mr Saleh, when the office of the AGF discovered that the charges could not be substantiated.

It said the charges were dropped without any plea bargaining, contrary to reports that Mr Saleh entered a plea bargain agreement with the federal government. 

“Before his emergence as the Secretary of the NJC, some forces who tried to scuttle his appointment as the secretary of the Council have re-emerged with antics aimed at tarnishing his image and bringing his good name to disrepute.”

“It should be noted that there has never been a time when Mr Saleh admitted  committing any crime before anybody or law court. 

“It is important to reiterate that there is no iota of credibility in the petition as they are not after the truth but are out to smear the good image of Ahmed Gambo Saleh at all cost,” the statement said. 

Read the full statement below:
Press Release RE: “EFCC PROBES SUPREME COURT SECRETARY GAMBO SALEH OVER N10 BILLLION LOOT, FEDERAL RACKETEERING”NJC SETS THE RECORD STRAIGHT
The attention of the National Judicial Council (NJC) has been drawn to the fallacious publication by an online newspaper Peoples Gazette accusing the Secretary of the National Judicial Council, Ahmed Gambo Saleh of involvement in “N10 billion bribe and federal racketeering.”

The baseless publication went further to state that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is investigating the imaginary petition written by a faceless individual, Aliyu Mohammed, on behalf of ‘Concerned Supreme Court Staff.’

To set the record straight, we wish to state that;  

* On enquiry, some credible journalists who got the petition and the NJC have discovered that there is no staff by the name Aliyu Mohammed on the Supreme Court staff list and his phone number, 07023358355 on the petition does not exist.

* In the publication it was alleged “that the EFCC has launched a probe into the alleged racketeering by Supreme Court chief registrar Ahmed Gambo Saleh, said to have gobbled up over N10 billion in bribes from Court contractors and other persons with criminal cases with the judiciary.”

* In the publication alleging collection of N10 billion from Supreme Court contractors, Ahmed Gambo Saleh is not the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court. In fact, Mr Saleh left the Supreme Court in 2017 and could not have been awarding contracts in any capacity on behalf of the apex court.

It is worrisome that the writer of the fictitious petition and publication (Peoples Gazette) did not name a single contractor from whom the purported N10 billion was alleged to have been collected. 

Mr Saleh was also accused of conniving with one Mr Surajo Tanko, purported to be son of the immediate past CJN, to sell off the residence of a Supreme Court Justice in the Aso Rock villa without the knowledge of Honourable Justice Dr I.T Muhammad GCON. 
It may interest the public to know that the said house No 10 Ibrahim Taiwo Street on the way to the Villa was once occupied by the then CJN before he relocated to his official residence.
The house was next to House No 11 occupied by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), and on their request and approval by President Muhammadu Buhari for an expansion of NFIU office, both houses were demolished for that purpose. Another house within the Villa was, however, approved for the use of the Supreme Court. 
How then could Mr Saleh have sold the house in question? 

Mr Saleh was also accused of “withholding funds meant for purchasing exotic vehicles usually assigned to newly sworn in Justices of the Supreme Court.”

The question is, is Mr Saleh the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court who is the accounting officer? The anwer is emphatic NO. Mr Ahmed Gambo Saleh as the NJC Secretary does not superintend over the affairs of the Supreme Court because they are two distinct entities.

On the allegation of diverting N2.2 billion from to his personal United Bank for Africa (UBA) account number 2027642863, the truth is that the said account is the operational account of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, which can be verified by anyone. 

Moreover, the said account was opened in 2009, five years before Mr Saleh became the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court. And so Mr Saleh could not have diverted the funds when he had not assumed office.

 Besides, the N2.2 billion was the total transaction in the account of the Supreme Court from 2009 to 2016. 
The petitioner only used the said account number which does not belong to Mr Saleh to deliberately and maliciously mislead members of the public. 
On the issue of the Attorney-General of the Federation’s withdrawal of the N2.2 billion fraud charges against Mr Saleh on a purported plea bargain, the truth is that when the office of the AGF discovered that the charges could not be substantiated, the charges were dropped without any plea bargaining. 

It is imperative for the members of the public to be aware that before his emergence as the Secretary of the NJC, some forces who tried to scuttle his appointment as the secretary of the Council have re-emerged with antics aimed at tarnishing his image and bringing his good name to disrepute. 
It is on record that these forces in a bid to stop his emergence as the NJC Secretary after the interview to consider his appointment, came up with false allegations in the media alleging that he had diverted N2.2 billion from the Supreme Court from 2009 to 2016 on the day the Council meeting was to hold.

It should be noted that there has never been a time when Mr Saleh admitted  committing any crime before anybody or law court. 

The sponsors of this malicious allegations believe they own the Judiciary and nobody can become anything within the Judiciary without their approval.

It is important to reiterate that there is no iota of credibility in the petition as they are not after the truth but are out to smear the good image of Ahmed Gambo Saleh at all cost.

Soji Oye Esq,

Director of Information.

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