Justice Abdu Kafarati: Antics of an incompetent & corrupt Judge
When respected legal luminary, Femi Falana appealed to the National Judicial Council (NJC) to sanction Justice Abdu Kafarati, it was because of the overwhelming evidence of criminalized self-dealing, conspiracy and corruption that had become the stock-in- trade of the man's modus operandi, was fast becoming an embarrassment to the Nigerian judiciary.
Informed NJC sources have revealed to Huhuonline.com that Justice Abdu Kafarati, along with other Judges who have abused the courts to circumvent the peoples' will by judicially imposing candidates that were not duly elected, are about to be rocked by a series of corruption indictments.
Federal Investigators have been working for nearly three years on the ever-growing and wide-spread list of charges, say the sources. "The extent of public corruption in the Judiciary is staggering- a panoply of crimes yet uncovered in Nigerian politics. The indictments will hit many of Nigeria's most influential in politics, finance and the legal community."
'With all due respect, if Justice Kafarati did his due diligence in the Anambra Senatorial primaries crisis, he would have saved himself the embarrassment of delivering the kind of sloppy verdict that raised questions about his own competence,' noted the NJC source, adding: 'the frequency with which Judge Kafarati has given controversial verdicts in election-related cases points to incriminating self-dealing. His personal friendship with politicians amounts to conflict of interest which requires full disclosure in order to prevent him from further overreaching and abusing the law, while purporting to act in the public interest.'
The investigations by the NJC followed the decision by Mohammed Bello Adoke, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, to charge Sen. Alphonsus Uba Igbeke with two counts of criminal forgery and perjury. Although the fundamentals of the Anambra North Senatorial District primaries case were evident to anyone not blinded by prejudice and self-interest, NJC officials told Huhuonline.com that Justice Kafarati's decision to impose Sen. Igbeke on the electorate of Anambra North District, who had rejected him in the primaries, amounted to a 'judicial imposition which is illegal and unconstitutional.'
Understandably, there are times when the courts have failed to truly resolve electoral problems. But what happens when these legal structures create more questions than they answer? What happens when a Judge issues a sort of verdict, whose outcome leaves many doubtful about whether justice was truly met? To answer that, let's take a look at some of the most controversial decisions taken by Justice Abdu Kafarati who is now in the center of the unfolding saga involving Senator Alphonsus Uba Igbeke. In the Anambra North Senatorial Zone case, Justice A. Abdu-Kafarati turned his court into an election petition tribunal contrary to the provisions of the Constitution and the 2011 Electoral Act.
Ignoring grave allegations that the results of the PDP primaries was forged by Sen. Igbeke, he went ahead to declare him the winner of the election. Justice Abdu Kafarati then ordered INEC to hand over the Certificate of Return to Sen. Igbeke who never even contested the election. As if that was not enough, Justice Kafarati conferred immunity on Sen. Igbeke by issuing an ex parte order restraining the Police from investigating the allegation of forgery leveled against the Senator. His judgments in the Anambra North Senatorial Zone primaries case were a model of judicial stupidity. He deliberately failed to use the law for its true purpose in the interests of fairness and justice. He demonstrated a high proclivity to thwart the will and aspirations of the Anambra electorate.
Although Senator Igbeke claimed in a sworn affidavit that he won the PDP primaries with 165 votes, (See exhibit 5; Art. 15-18), the certified true copy of the result sheet he presented at the Federal High Court in Abuja presided over by Justice Kafarati indicated he won the Anambra North Senatorial Zone primaries with 1173 votes. (See exhibit 6). Justice Kafarati insisted that 'based on the declared result, the party chairman (Benji Udeozor) sent the names of the plaintiff (Sen. Igbeke) to INEC on January 12, 2011. However, Chief Benji Udeozor denied ever submitting the said result sheet bearing the name of Sen. Alphonsus Uba Igbeke.
He also deposed to an affidavit and submitted a written statement to this effect to the court which Justice Kafarati ignored and overruled. Despite the overwhelming evidence and contradictions, it stretches credulity that Justice Abdu Kafarati went out of his way to issue a frivolous judgment in Senator Igbeke's favour. Documents obtained by huhuonline.com show that the court order by Justice Kafarati, declaring Sen. Igbeke as the winner of the Anambra North Senatorial Zone primaries, ostensibly issued on March 17, 2011, was actually signed on January 31, 2011; forty-five (45) days before the commencement of the case. (See exhibit 18). If this is not premeditation to abet and commit forgery, then one wonders what really is!
Among the other major benchmarks of judicial travesty in election-related cases by Justice Abdu Kafarati include: the frivolous order he gave against the PPN in Ogun State. The order was unanimously condemned as unconstitutional and brazenly unjust, and for which Justice Kafarati received a query from the NJC. The court order and subsequent judgment have been quashed.
It was the same Justice Kafarati who declared Senator Festus Bode Ola as ACN candidate against Mr. Babafemi Ojudu, who was nominated by the party. Like Senator Igbeke, Bode Ola had presented fraudulent documents to Justice Kafarati. The fraudulent order and judgment were eventually dismissed as jaundiced.
Again, it was Justice Kafarati who issued a court injunction barring the PDP from submitting the name of Enugu State Governor Sullivan Chime as its candidate for the 2011 governorship election. The order was quashed. But that did not stop Justice Kafarati from annulling the election of Chief Hope Uzodinma as the candidate of PDP for Orlu Senatorial Zone. Both the Appeal Court and the Supreme Court dismissed the judgment as irresponsible
It was the venerated English Lord Denning who held that where someone loses out through relying on a negligent misstatement, the person who made it should be liable. For Justice Abdu Kafarati, the questions Nigerians are asking is: when will the chickens begin coming home to roost?