A Senior Advocate of Nigeria(SAN), Dr. Joseph Nwobike today denied bribing court officials in other to pervert the course of justice as alleged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC).
Nwobike stated this while been cross examined by EFCC Counsel, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo at the resumed hearing of an 11-count charge bordering on perverting the course of justice and offering gratification to public officials.
Oyedepo had confronted the Senior Advocate with text messages he sent to court officials to allegedly unduly influence court cases he was handling.
The anti-graft agency also alleged that Nwobike offered gratifications to some judges of the Federal High Court and the National Industrial Court to influence them to act contrary to their official capacities.
The EFCC further claimed that Nwobike engaged in sending text messages with four registrars of the Federal High Court in a bid to unduly influence his cases being tried by the judges.
However Nwobike, denied all the allegations as he restated his earlier evidence
The defendant had on July 3, 2017 while being led in evidence by his defence counsel, Mr Olawale Akoni (SAN), told the court that the money he allegedly gave to the judges were never gratification, but were assistance.
He contended that the judges were old friends who he had been acquainted with while in University which was long before they were appointed as judges
A compact disc (Exhibit P21) allegedly containing text messages from the SAN’s seized mobile phone (Exhibit P18) was projected on a screen during the cross-examination of Nwobike at his ongoing trial at an Ikeja High Court.
The Lead Prosecution Counsel for EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo during proceedings today , allged that Nwobike sent text messages to Mr Baruwa, a clerk of the Federal High Court, Lagos.
He added that Nwobike was aware that Baruwa worked with one Mr Jide, a Deputy Registrar of the court.
Responding, Nwobike said, “I know Mr Baruwa, he is a clerk of the Federal High Court, I do not know he works with Mr Jide, he told me that his office is directly opposite Mr Jide’s office.”
“I have had course to send messages to Mr Baruwa in the course of my duties just like any other legal practitioner,” Nwobike said.
Denying prosecution’s accusations, Nwobike said, “The text messages I sent were just confirmation text messages,that has nothing to with any unusual favour
“On whether I knew that Brokeyard Marine Oil and Gas Services were under investigation by the EFCC, I don’t know because I don’t work for the EFCC,” Nwobike said.
The prosecution also alleged that the lawyer obstructed the prosecution of one of his client, who was allegedly caught at the Muritala Muhammed International Airport(MMIA),Lagos with $200million.
“On November 9, 2015, Mr Felix Deckon your litigation officer forwarded a text message to Mr Jide.
“Text contained details of the charge proffered against your client by the EFFC,” Oyedepo said
“The money in question was $2.2million and not $200million and my client was asking for the return of the $2.2million seized from his agent at the airport.
“I forwarded details of this suit to Mr Jide for confirmation purposes,” Nwobike claimed.
The prosecution also alleged that Nwobike obstructed justice when he received photocopies of EFCC charges that were not yet filed in court.
“Mr Baruwa sent a text message acknowledging handing over the charges to Mr Felix Deckon, your litigation officer
“A charge that is not filed was given to you by your litigation officer without you applying for a certified true copy,” Oyedepo said.
Denying the accusations, Nwobike said, “I did not apply for a certified true copy and I did not receive photocopy of the charge . I only received the charge when it was served on my clients.”
Meanwhile, Justice Raliatu Adebiyi has adjourned the case to July 12,2017 for continuation of trial at 10.30am.