EFCC releases more evidence against SAN accused of bribing judges

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has given more incriminating evidence against Joseph Nwobike, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

Nwobike is standing trial for an 11-count bordering on perverting the course of justice and offering of gratification to public officials.

The EFCC 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.

At the Ikeja high court on Friday, Rotimi Oyedepo, counsel to EFCC, presented evidence of text messages sent by Nwobike before he appeared in court to argue cases.

“On page 4356 on column 1158 shows that in September 21, 2014, you sent this text to Mr Jide which is suit no — FHC/L/CS/1133/2014 Dana Group of Companies and two others V Sterling Bank Plc, Mr Kunle Ogunba (SAN) and two others, this is a suit you filed,” Oyedepo said.

“Your colleague, Mr Kunle Ogunba (SAN), was also a party to the suit and this suit was assigned on September 23, 2014, and Justice Yinusa heard this suit. Can you confirm to the court who heard the suit?

“On column 1157, on September 21, 2014, you sent this text to Jide ‘Good afternoon Sir, Wafa and another V Diamond Bank and two others, Kurya J, thanks so much.

“On June 30, 2014, you sent the details of that suit again to Jide and you sent this text; ‘Thanks, please help me with this one, it has urgency, I will show tomorrow, goodnight, my lord. On the same day of June 30, 2014, at 5.26 pm, you forwarded the suit details of Lanre Olaoluwa Vs federal ministry of power and steel, Yinusa J, very important.

“I can tell you that this suit was instituted on the same day (June 30, 2014) and your firm paid N56,040 and Yinusa J ended up adjudicating in the matter.

“On June 26, 2014, you forwarded this text to Mr Jide ‘Nestlé Vs FIRS, FHC/L/CS/940/2014, Yinusa J, thanks.’ Jide, responding to your text said, ‘I did it last week, it is there already’.Earlier on that day, you received a text message from Collins one of the counsel in your chambers on the same day.

“The text from Collins communicated to the name of the parties and suit number of the Nestlé matter. The text from Collins was received by you at 7.16 am and you forwarded that text message to Jide suggesting Yinusa J at 7.31am.”

Responding, Nwobike denied the allegations.

“I don’t know how much my firm paid for the filing of the Lanre Olaoluwa suit. As at the time I sent the text message regarding the Olaoluwa suit, I thought the matter was already assigned,” he said.

“For the Nestlé suit, I think it was Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia that heard the suit and not Justice Yinusa.”

Oyedepo also revealed details of more text message between the SAN and the federal high court registrar.

After hearing listening to the parties, Raliatu Adebiyi, the judge, adjourned the case till July 26.