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NJC CLEARS JUDGE OVER ALLEGED MISCONDUCT

By NBF News

Justice Tijani Abubakar
The National Judicial Council has exonerated Justice Tijani Abubakar of the Federal High Court from allegation of professional misconduct levelled against him by an Indian and a director of Shinning Star Nigeria Limited, Mr. Satish Kashyap.

In a letter addressed to Justice Abubakar and signed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the Chairman of the NJC, Justice Aloysious Katsina -Alu, the council stated that the judge did not compromise his judicial oath of office in his handling of a suit No FHC/L/CS/1059/06 -Shinning Star Nigeria Ltd & Satish Kashyap v. AKS Steel Nigeria Ltd, Sanjay Sharma and Nemi Chotari.

The NJC added that it had after its meeting of May 5 and 7, 2010, accepted the findings of the report of a committee set up under the chairmanship of Justice Anthony Iguh and came to the conclusion that Kashyap (the petitioner) failed to prove recent the allegations against the judge.

Justice Abubakar had handled the case when he was at the Federal High Court in Lagos before the transfer of judges just as he had now been moved to the Port Harcourt Division of the FHC.

A copy of the NJC's letter with Ref No. NJC/FHC/DM/11/986 and dated May 28, 2010, was made available to our correspondent in Lagos on Thursday.

Kashyap had in a petition dated July 15, 2009 and titled, 'Abuse of judicial oath of office by Justice Tijani Abubakar of the Federal High Court in Lagos', alleged that the judge had through a proxy lawyer, Mr. Atie Okojie, demanded 20 per cent of the recoverable amount from the suit pending before him.

But Okojie had faulted the claim of Kashyap and stated in his protest letter dated August 11, 2009 to the NJC that he was not a proxy to the judge, saying that the said 20 per cent was his professional fees for the legal services rendered to Kashyap over the dispute on ownership of AKS Steel.

The Chief Judge of the FHC , Justice Dan Abutu , had in a letter dated June 7, 2010, conveyed the decision of the NJC to Justice Abubakar, saying that the council had absolved him from Kashyap's allegations.

The NJC's letter to Justice Abubakar reads in part, 'The report of the Committee set up by the NJC under the chairmanship of Hon. Justice Anthony I. Iguh, CON, following the petitions dated July 15, 2009, written against you by a Director of Shinning Star Nigeria Limited, Mr. Satish Chander Kashyap, was considered by the Council at its meeting which was held on May 5 and 7, 2010.

'At the end of deliberation, Council accepted the findings of the aforesaid committee that the petitioner failed to prove all the allegations levelled against you and had therefore exonerated you from all the allegations therein, please.'