More shocking allegations are being made against some of Nigeria’s senior lawyers by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Rickey Tarfa (SAN) who is currently facing trial has been accused of bribing a judge, Justice Mohammed Yunusa, with the sum of N250,000. Now, the EFCC has also accused another Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Joseph Nwobike, of transferring the sum of N750,000 to same Justice Mohammed Yunusa of the Federal High Court, which the anti-graft agency claimed to be a bribe.
EFCC also alleged that another judge from the Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High Court, Hon. Justice H.A Nganjiwa, received N300,000 as bribe from Nwobike.
These allegations were contained in a counter-affidavit filed the EFCC’s lawyer, Mr. Wahab Shittu, in reply to a better and further affidavit filed and allowed by Justice Mohammed Idris in a N2.5bn suit filed against the EFCC by Mr. Rickey Tarfa (SAN).
In the counter-affidavit, an operative of the EFCC, Moses Awolusi, averred, “Investigation has also shown that as part of this chain of fraud, Mr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN) also transferred the sum of N300,000 to Hon. Justice H.A Nganjiwa.
“That investigations further revealed that Honourable Justice M.N. Yunusa, as part of this scheme of fraud, also received the sum of N750,000 from Mr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN) and Co.”
But Nwobike, in his statement to the anti-graft agency, which was also attached to the affidavit, explained that the money was not meant to bribe the judge.
He said it was the judge who asked him for financial assistance in respect of his ill mother who was undergoing dialysis due to a failing kidney.
Nwobike explained, “Sometime ago, Justice Yunusa requested to see me. When I got there, he pleaded with me to assist him with some funds since his mother was undergoing dialysis.
“He stated that (one of) her kidney had packed up and that he needed assistance. I felt sorry for him. I told him that I did not have funds, but that I will assist him when I get some money.
“I requested for his account details which he obliged me. When I got some money about two weeks after, I gave the money to him and he thanked me when he saw me along the corridor of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi.”