By Emmanuel Obisue
Current Deputy Chief Registrar (DCR) of the Court of Appeal in Jos, Plateau State, Mrs. Christy Haruna, has been fingered in a N50million fraud by a fellow wigged colleague, Barr. George Halliday, a Legal Practitioner with Law & Equity Partners.
Barr. Halliday told our correspondent EXCLUSIVELY that the said sum was payment ordered as compensation for damages by the Court of Appeal Abuja, on May 8, 2018, in the aftermath of a land dispute with the Bayelsa State Government in 2017.
According to the Lawyer, the Court had ordered WEMA Bank, the official bank of the Bayelsa State Government to make the payment. He alleged that Mrs. Haruna who was DCR at the Court of Appeal, Abuja at the time, swindled the N50million instead of paying it into the Court’s account.
He recounted that upon demand for his money, the DCR presented a Blank Deposit Slip that has not been filled as evidence of deposit of the Fifty Million Naira.
“I had a land dispute with the Bayelsa State Government, and for which judgement was entered for me, and the Bayelsa State Government was ordered to vacate the land and also pay me the sum of 50 million as damages.
“I consequently brought their bankers, WEMA Bank to court, to pay the 50 million Naira by way of garnishee. WEMA Bank now issued me five drafts of Ten Million Naira each that all bounced at presentation.
“By a court order, I then seized their cars, including a Lexus 570 and six other cars and generator, and brought them for auctioning at the court. Before the auctioning would take place, WEMA Bank ran to court of Appeal, Abuja, and pleaded for the release of their properties, which the court granted on the condition that they will bring another five set of drafts of Fifty Million Naira, and hand over to the then Deputy Chief Registrar, Mrs. Christy Haruna, to be deposited into an interest-yielding account of the court for me, pending the determination of the Appeal.
“But my friend who works with Mrs. Christy Haruna informed me that she did not deposit the money as ordered by the court, and upon my petition against her, she was transferred to Court of Appeal, Jos,” Barr. Halliday narrated.
Certified true copies of documents seen by Heritage Times HT corroborated the allegations against Mrs. Haruna.
Soon To Be Sworn In As Federal High Court Judge
Meanwhile, Mrs. Haruna is set to be sworn in as a Federal High Court Judge in Jos, Plateau State.
Heritage Times HT reports that in January this year, the Federal High Court announced nine vacancies to be filled on its bench, although it has a shortfall of 24 judges. The Court which has a full complement of 100 judges, currently has less than 80 across its divisions nationwide.
When contacted on phone, Mrs. Haruna denied all allegations, claiming that the said N50million has since been deposited into an interest-yielding Zenith Bank account, but was being held by the Court.
“If he is doubting, let him go to Zenith Bank and tell them to print out the statement of account from the day I paid the money till now, if there is any withdrawal, when he gets hold of it, then he will know the truth.
“He should fear God. He knows that I’m innocent. I’m not the custodian of the money. The money is in the bank. He has appealed to the Supreme Court. Why won’t he appeal to the court to give him the money?”
She said she acted swiftly upon Prayer (3) of the Court Order and did what was mandated of the Court DCR at the time. “I’m currently on transfer to Jos. A DCR hardly stay for more than 2 to 3 years in one place. I’m not a bad person. I am a woman of integrity. Anybody that has come in contact with me knows there are things that I can never do. I don’t compromise,” she added.
Haruna further claimed to have been receiving calls and text messages of threat from Halliday, on her life, and on her confirmation as High Court Judge.
Demand For Justice
The embattled Lawyer has also claimed that his sources at the Office of the Inspector General of Police have informed him that Mrs. Haruna has been involved in several fraud cases.“ My money is the least of the monies she has tampered with,” he claimed.
“At the bottom of her statement, she said she deposited the Drafts on the 8th and 9th of May, 2018. How can you use two days to deposit Drafts? And second Deposit Slip of the 9th of May? This is very fraudulent. She did not deposit my money.
“On the Deposit Slip there is no surname of depositor, no signature, no phone number. It also carries a different account number from the first Deposit Slip. And the Deposit slip of the 9th, where is it?” he added.
Heritage Times HT recalls that in 2016, Nigeria’s regulatory body for the judiciary, the National Judicial Council (NJC) recommended the compulsory retirement of three judges following allegations of fraud and other judicial misconduct.
The indicted judges were: the Chief Judge of Enugu State, A. I. umezulike; a presiding justice at the Court of Appeal in Kwara State, Mohammed Tsamiya; and Kabiru Auta of the Kano State High Court. The trio were sacked by the NJC during the council’s 78th meeting held on September 29 that year.