EFCC drags SAN to court

The alleged offer of gratification case by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dr. Joseph Nwobike before a Lagos State High Court in Igbosere was heard on Monday and further proceedings in the bribery charges adjourned  till April 21. The EFCC is prosecuting Nwobike for allegedly offering a gratification of N750, 000 to a judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Mohammed Yunusa, in order to purportedly  compromise the judge. Nwobike was on March 9, 2016 arraigned before Justice Raliat Adebiyi on 5 counts of offering gratification to a public officer, an act the EFCC said was a violation of Section 64 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, No.11, 2011. The accused however pleaded not guilty, indicating that he was going to challenge the competence of the charges. At the resumed proceedings on Monday, his lawyer, Mr. Wale Akoni (SAN), informed the judge that his client wished for the EFCC to open and close its case before giving his own position. The case was consequently adjourned till April 21, 2016, when the EFCC is expected to call its first witness. The senior advocate had, in his statement to the EFCC, denied bribing justice Yunusa, explaining that the N750,000 he offered the judge was a financial help to the judge, whose mother he claimed underwent dialysis due to a failing kidney. Nwobike said, “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 under dialysis. He stated that her kidney had parked up and that he needed assistance to cure her. 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 court of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi.”

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