A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Joseph Nwobike on Wednesday denied bribing dismissed Judge, Justice Mohammed Yinusa.
Nwobike while giving evidence before an Ikeja High Court maintained that he only gave Yinusa N750,000 out of pity when the latter told him about his mother’s deterioration health.
Nwobike is being tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on an 11-count charge of allegedly offering gratification to a public official and perverting the course of justice.
The commission also named four judges allegedly involved in the gratification scam as Justice Mohammed Yinusa, Justice H. A. Nganjiwa and Justice Musa Kurya, all of the Federal High Court, Lagos and Justice James Agbadu-Fishim of the National Industrial Court, Lagos.
While being led in evidence by his lawyer, Mr. O Akoni (SAN), Nwobike said he has never been a respondent in any case or ever charged to face a disciplinary committee and that the money he transferred into Justice Yinusa’s bank account was done out of sheer compassion for his mother’s treatment.
“I have known Justice Yinusa for about 19 years. I met him one day and I enquired why he looked so unhappy. He told me that his mother had kidney issues and was on dialysis and that they spent N250,000 weekly and as such could no longer afford the treatment.
” I told him I could help even though I did not readily have the money at hand. When I got home, I transferred the money to him with my UBA account, but sadly his mother still died,” he said.
Nwobike, who said he was called to bar in 1992, said that he received a telephone call from an EFCC official who simply introduced himself as ‘Zakari’, to report to the commission for an unknown issue.
“When I received the call from Zakari, I recognized the voice and recalled that I had, at a time, cross examined him in a case involving my client and EFCC.
“So, I decided to honor the invitation thinking that the purpose was maybe to relate on some issues of my clients I’ve handled with the commission.
“Arriving at the agency’s station, after thirty minutes of receiving the invitation, Zakari showed me a document which revealed my bank statement in United Bank for Africa (UBA). He pointed at a bank entry transfer of N750, 000 performed from my account to the account of Justice Yinusa.
“He, thereafter, requested that I put in writing, explaining why the transfer was made and I did. I
Nwobike, however, told the court that he did not transfer any other money to the judge apart from the N750, 000,” Nwobike said.
He also said that he did not discuss any official matter with the judge. “As a principle, I do not discuss official matters or judiciary issues with those in authorities and I never discussed any matter with him either before, during or after the money was paid”, Nwobike said.
Nwobike further denied the accusation that the transferred money was to induce the judge to refrain from giving a particular order in respect to a matter pending in his court.
Justice R. I. B Adebiyi adjourned the matter till July 3rd and 4th, 2017 for continuation of trial and for defense to close her case.
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