An anti-graft campaign organization, Nigerians United In Diaspora Against Corruption (NUIDAC), has rejected the recommendation of Mrs. Tarere Vivienne Nnamani-Kuku as a judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court by the FCT Judicial Service Committee to the National Judicial Commission (NJC).
Mrs. Nnamani-Kuku is the wife of Mr. Kingsley Kuku, Special Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta Affairs and Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, who has fled the country to avoid prosecution for corruption.
NUIDAC's rejection was conveyed in a petition addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Chairman, NJC. Jointly signed by Messrs Obinna Onoruwo and Gbenga Adekunle, President and Secretary respectively, the statement said the group is disappointed that Mrs. Nnamani-Kuku has been recommended to be made a judge at a court before which her fugitive husband is facing a welter of corruption charges.
"By the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, this recommendation would eventually be forwarded to the President by the NJC for appointment as a judge of the FCT High Court. The said nominee is the wife of a fugitive, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, who is facing multiple charges bothering on corruption before the same FCT High Court to which she has been nominated to serve," NUIDAC said.
The group noted that Mrs. Nnamani-Kuku's husband fled the country in 2015 under the pretext of seeking medical attention in the United States. NUIDAC said Mr. Kuku's claim of seeking medical treatment was a ruse because he wrote to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that he would return in September 2015 to answer allegations of corruption against him.
"Up till now, he has refused to do so. Rather he sued the EFCC to prevent his arrest, but he lost the case in court. Yet, he has continued to stay away from the country to evade justice. This prompted the EFCC to arraign him before the FCT High Court in 2016. Since then, he has been a fugitive in the US, evading justice, despite the wide publicity of the charges pending against him," the group stated.
NUIDAC alleged that Mr. Kuku's wife has visited her husband numerous times in the US since he fled in 2015 and remains a link with his contacts in Nigeria. The trips, it added, could be confirmed from her international passport. NUIDAC said it is especially concerned that Mrs. Nnamani-Kuku, who has been abetting the husband to evade justice can be appointed as a judge of the same court before which the husband is charged.
"If she can assist him to evade justice as an 'outsider' in the judicial system or the court, what would she now do as an “insider” within the same court? It is also our concern, as whistleblowers, that Mrs Nnamani-Kuku helped the husband whilst in office to launder millions of naira. We are very confident that the wife will not escape complicity in the crimes of Kingsley Kuku if he eventually presents himself for further interrogation and trial. That is why it is very important for the husband to return and clear himself before any consideration is given to the said recommendation," said NUIDAC.
The group also alleged that Mrs. Nnamani-Kuku never practiced or worked as a lawyer since she was called to the Bar until about a year ago when she attached herself to an Abuja legal firm and started scheming to be appointed a judge. NUIDAC urged that her pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) records be scrutinized, insisting that she has no history of such.
"In the circumstance, we are urging you to use your good offices to reject this particular recommendation. It makes complete nonsense of the anti-corruption crusade of this regime and will further the judiciary in bad light," NUIDAC concluded.