The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed a 19-count case of unlawful enrichment against Justice Jame Terseer Agbabu-Fishim of the National Industrial Court. The EFCC is accusing the judge of illicit enrichment to the tune of N3.5m.
In a copy of the charge sheet shown to our correspondent, the EFCC alleged that Justice Fishim received N3.5m from seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria, one other Lagos-based lawyer and one law firm between 2013 and 2015.
The funds, the EFCC claimed in the charge sheet, was paid into the judge's First Bank account with number 3008199491.
According to the EFCC, the embattled judge received a total of N1.15m from Felix Fagbohungbe (SAN) between December 5, 2013, and February 26, 2015.
He allegedly received a total of N700,000 in multiple tranches from Paul Usoro (SAN) between August 5, 2014 and March 26, 2015.
Other SANs who allegedly gave funds to the judge included Gani Adetola-Kazeem, who gave N100,000 on February 10, 2015; and Uche Obi, who gave him N250,000 between October 17 and 20, 2013.
Others were Banire (SAN) who, according to the EFCC, gave the judge N500,000 on June 20, 2013; and Adeniyi Akintola (SAN), who gave him a total of N300,000 in two tranches of N200,000 and N100,000 on June 3, 2013 and February 26, 2015 respectively.
The EFCC also claimed that Justice Fishim received a total of N250,000 from Joseph Nwobike (SAN) in tranches of N150,000 and N100,000 on December 12, 2014 and September 10, 2015 respectively; while a Lagos-based lawyer, Enobong Etteh, was said to have transferred
N200,000 to the judge on October 27, 2014.
The EFCC alleged that a law firm, Alliance Law Firm, also paid N250,000 into the judge's account on August 21, 2015.
The anti-graft agency alleged that Justice Fishim received the money "so as to have a significant increase in your assets that you cannot reasonably explain the increase in relation to your lawful income."
It alleged that the judge acted contrary to Section 82 (a) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, No.11, 2011.
Some of the lawyers alleged to have given the judge money have denied bribing the judge and explained that the money they gave the judge was not to compromise him, but friendship gestures.
Mr. Akintola, who allegedly gave Justice Fishim N300,000, had, in an interview with The PUNCH early November last year, explained that, “The judge is my friend of over 20 years.
"I gave him N100,000 twice when he lost his parents as financial assistance. I did not even attend the events. He has also given me money twice: N50,000 (when I lost my mother in 2014) and another N25,000 when my daughter wedded. He attended the two events. It was a
kind of exchange of gifts. I knew him when he was in the University of Abuja.”
Also, reacting to the allegation last year, Mr. Banire claimed that Justice Fishim was an old colleague of his when he lectured at the University of Lagos and a fellow researcher at the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, adding that as of 2013 when he sent N500,000 to the judge, he did not know that he had become a judge, as he had not seen him for about N14 years before 2013 when he received a text message from Justice Fishim, soliciting financial help for the funeral of his mother.
The charge, filed before the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere, has, however, not been fixed for hearing.