Bribing Of Judges: We Didn’t Conclude Our Investigation Before Charging Lawyer To Court—EFCC Witness
The star witness in the ongoing trial of a legal practitioner Dr Joseph Nwobike alleged to have bribe judicial officers in order to pervert the course of justice, yesterday told an Ikeja High Court that the prosecution, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)did not complete their investigation before charging the lawyer to court
The EFCC star witness Mr Daniel Danladi made this known under cross examination by defence team.
Danladi under cross examination told Justice Raliat Adebiyi of the Ikeja High Court that EFCC did not complete its investigation before charging Dr Joseph Nwobike, (SAN) to court for corruption.
Nwobike is facing trial at an Ikeja High Court for allegedly perverting the course of justice by offering gratification to Judges
The judges are; Justice Mohammed Yinusa, Justice H.A Ngajiwa and Justice Musa Kurya, all of the Federal High Court, Lagos and Justice James Agbadu-Fishim of the National Industrial Court, Lagos.
When asked if there was anything in the text messages alleged to have been sent by Nwobike to some judicial officers indicating that the money given was meant to compromise justice, the witness said no.
The defence team led by Mr Olawale Akoni (SAN), while cross -exactness Danladi, said, “It is safe to say that the EFCC did not complete its investigations before charging the defendant to court,” Akoni said.
In response to the question Danladi said “yes” .
The witness also admitted that Mrs Helen Ogunleye, a court Registrar was interviewed by the anti-graft agency in October 2016; months after the charges against Nwobike were filed in court
Danladi further told the court that none of the judges alleged to have been bribed admitted before EFCC that the money given to them by Nwobike was meant to pervert the course of justice. They said the money was meant to assist them. He also admitted that Nwobike was not having any case before Justice Agbadu -Fishim
“All the judges- Justice Agbadu-Fishim, Justice Kurya and Justice Yinusa gave several reasons why the money was paid into their accounts, they did not say that the money was to pervert the course of justice.”
He also told the court that when Nwobike was interviewed, he claimed that the N750,000 given to Justice Yinusa’s was meant to assist in the medical treatment of his mother.
“When we confronted Justice Yinusa, he also confirmed that the money was for his mother’s treatment.
Justice H.A Ngajiwa admitted before the commission that he received N300,000 from the defendant but claimed the money was for the purchase of law books for his library
“Our investigations did not reveal that the defendant had any case before Justice Agbadu-Fishim or Nganjiwa. The N100,000, N150,000 and N100,000 paid by Nwobike was claimed by Justice Agbadu -Fishim to be towards his trip abroad for a medical checkup.
The witness also confirmed that the payments were gifts to Justice Agbadu-Fishim.
Justice Kurya however, denied receiving any money from the defendant, we also could not find any order that was allegedly discharged by Justice Kurya on behalf of the defendant.
“Mrs Helen Ogunleye, a court Registrar to Justice Musa Kurya was interviewed by the commission and she admitted receiving N250,000 from the defendant which she claimed was a financial assistance to her to solve a family problem.
Danladi also admitted under cross-examination that the administrative judge in charge of assigning cases at the Federal High Court was not interviewed by the EFCC and that he, Danladi was not present when Nwobike’s statement was taken.
He further told the court that one Mr Jide, an official of the Federal High Court whom Nwobike was alleged to have communicated with severally during investigation told the Commission that he was not in charge of assigning cases but the administrative judge.
He further told the court that EFCC did not investigate the administration judge to factor in the cases involved in this trial and the criteria for assignment of these cases, the witness told the court.
The witness also admitted that the EFCC did not interview ‘Debbie’ a court registrar, who was allegedly in text message communication with Nwobike.
“I did not interview the said Debbie, I don’t know the nature of the relationship between her and the defendant and l don’t know what the $2,500 given to her by the defendant was to be meant for,” Danladi said
The EFCC witness also admitted that not all over 14,000 text messages contained in the Extraction Report was related to the case.
“Not all the matters contained in the text messages were placed before the judges whose names were mentioned in the messages”he said
Danladi also admitted under cross-examination that not all the cases which the anti-graft agency claimed were unduly influenced by the Nwobike were handled by the judges mentioned.
According to him, “The EFCC also did not receive any petition from the parties in respect of Justice Yinusa who handled the case.
Justice Raliatu Adebiyi has adjourned the case to May 5 and 18 for continuation of trial