Nigerian ruling party lawyer stands down in bribery row

Move comes amid presidential anti-graft crusade

Nigerian ruling party lawyer stands down in bribery row

World Bulletin / News Desk

A senior figure in Nigeria’s ruling party stepped down on Tuesday “on moral grounds” following claims he bribed a judge in 2013 with $1,640 in local currency.

Muiz Banire, a legal adviser to the ruling All Progressives Congress, wrote in a postdated Nov. 8 letter to his party’s leadership that he needed to clear his name with Nigeria’s anti-graft body, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The politician's resignation is a surprising development in Nigeria where public figures are known to sit tight even when accused of fraud or abuse of office.

Banire also resigned his membership of the country's Electoral Reform Committee.

The lawyer owned up to crediting the judge's account in 2013 but insisted the gesture was to help a friend and longtime colleague “in distress”.

He said the judge -- who is among many Nigerian judicial figures now under investigation -- asked Banire to help him with burial expenses for his late mother.

The senior lawyer said he had never personally appeared before the judge in any legal case. However, Banire admitted lawyers from his law firm once appeared in two cases, one of which was lost.

President Muhammadu Buhari has repeatedly accused judges of stalling his anticorruption crusade, recently leading to police arresting seven judges on corruption charges. Several army generals and top politicians have been arraigned on corruption charges since Buhari became president last year.

Nigeria is the 136 least-corrupt nation out of 175 countries surveyed in the 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index issued by Transparency International.

Last Mod: 08 Kasım 2016, 14:03
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