The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday, failed to arraign Justice Yunusa Mohammed Nasir, a dismissed judge of the Federal High Court, at the Lagos State High court at Ikeja, Lagos, on alleged offenses of unlawful gratification and attempt to pervert justice.
The arraignment could not go on as scheduled before Justice Mojisola Dada on the information given by her clerk that the case file has been taken back to the administrative judge for re-assignment.
Justice Nasir and his lawyer, Mr. John Odunbela (SAN) who were in court this morning for the arraignment left the court premises once they were informed that the case file had been taken off Justice Dada’s desk.
The counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Ekele Iheanacho, also said he had earlier got a notification from the court that the case would be before Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye, but another notification came informing him it was before justice Dada instead. However, the matter did not come up either before Justice Ipaye or Justice Dada.
EFCC filed a five-count charge against the embattled judge and one other Ms. Esther Agbo, a member of staff of Rickey Tarfa & Co law firm.
Count 1 of the charge claims that Justice Nasir between February and September of 2015, attempted to “pervert the course of justice by engaging in constant private and confidential telephone conversations” with Mr. Rickey Tarfa (SAN), who was at the time defending cases before him.
The cases in question include; Suit No. FHC/L/CS/714/2015 between Mr. Adewale Adeniyi v EFCC & 2 others; Suit No FHC/L/CS/715?2015 between Rena Prestige Industries Ltd & Anor. V EFCC & two others and suit No. FHC/L/CS/716/2015 between Hair Prestige Manufacturing Nigeria Ltd & 3 other V EFCC & 2 others.
EFCC also alleged that the embattled judge agreed to receive the sum of N1, 500, 000 paid into his United Bank of Africa Plc account number 1005055617 by Esther Agbo, in other to give a decision in favor of the chambers of Rickey Tarfa & Co, in cases handled by the said chambers before him as a judge of Federal High Court in Ikoyi.
The commission in the third count accused Justice Nasir of agreeing to receive financial benefit from Joseph Nwobike (SAN) in other to favor the SAN in some cases he defended before the charged justice. It added that a sum of N750, 000 was paid into same UBA account by Mr. Nwobike.
Count 5 says; “Esther Agbo on or about the 14th May, 2015, within the jurisdiction of this honorable court and in the course of your employment in Rickey Tara & Co, gave as gratification the sum of N1, 500, 00 to Hon. Justice Yunusa Mohammed Nasir, a judge of the Federal High Court in order to induce him to hive decisions favorable to the chambers of Rickey Tarfa & Co in (i) Suit No. FHC/L/CS/714/2015 between Mr. Adewale Adeniyi v EFCC & 2 others, (ii) Suit No FHC/L/CS/715/2015 between Rena Prestige Industries Ltd & Anor. V EFCC & two others, (iii) suit No. FHC/L/CS/716/2015 between Hair Prestige Manufacturing Nigeria Ltd & 3 other V EFCC & 2 others being cases handled by the said chambers before Hon. Justice Yunusa Mohammed Nasir”.
It is important to note that the principal of Rickey Tarfa & Co Chambers, Mr. Rickey Tarfa, (SAN) was arraigned in 2016 on a 27-count charge bordering on alleged willful obstruction of authorized officers of EFCC, refusing to declare asset, making false information and offering gratification to a public official.
Similarly, Mr. Nwobike is currently under trial on a five-count charge for bribing public officials and perverting the course of justice.