Top 3 Most Significant Convictions Secured By EFCC In 2018

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC said it secured a total of 312 convictions between January and December 24, 2018.

According to the anti-corruption agency, the record of convictions was a significant improvement from the 189 convictions recorded in 2017.

There were some high profile convictions recorded by the EFCC in 2018, the anti-graft body listed three of the biggest and here they are below.

  1. Jolly Nyame

A former governor of Taraba State currently serving a 12-year jail term at the Kuje Prison, with a fine of N495 million.

  1. Joshua Dariye

A serving Senator and a former governor of Plateau state who is also serving jail terms at Kuje Prison.

  1. Joseph Nwobike

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria who has been stripped of the highly revered legal title. He was convicted for perverting the course of justice.

READ ALSO: PDP Accuses Buhari Of Shielding Corrupt Family Members

Dariye and Nyame, who were sentenced to 14 years in prison had approached the Court of Appeal to challenge the “guilty” verdict handed down on them by a Federal Capital Territory High Court, Gudu presided over by Justice Adebukola Banjoko.

However, while upholding their convictions, the Appellate Court commuted Dariye’s jail term to 10 years, and that of Nyame to 12 years.

With the convictions, the EFCC, led by Ibrahim Magu as the acting Chairman, has remained consistent in its concerted efforts aimed at ensuring that the negative narrative of pervasive corruption in the system is changed for the better, and the perception that some persons are above the Law is altered.

The record of convictions cuts across the various offices of the EFCC with Lagos securing 85 convictions, Abuja with 53, followed by Kano with 36. Port Harcourt secured 33 convictions, Gombe recorded 28; Benin had 27; Enugu, 15; Maiduguri, 11; Ibadan, 10; Uyo, 8, and Kaduna, 6.

Court Jails Senior Lawyer, Nwobike Over Justice Perversion

A Lagos High Court Sitting in the Ikeja area has convicted a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Joseph Nwobike on charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Justice Raliat Adebiyi, who delivered the verdict today also sentenced the Snr Advocate to a jail term of one month.

The court held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission proved beyond reasonable doubts that the SAN was in constant communication with some court officials to influence the assignment of his cases to preferred judges.

READ ALSO: Court Convicts Senior Advocate, Nwobike, Of Justice Perversion

Court Orders Interim Forfeiture Of Patience Jonathan’s Properties In Abuja

The EFCC had alleged that Nwobike offered N750,000 and N300,000 gratifications to Justices Mohammed Yunusa and Hyeladzira Nganjiwa. Both are Federal High Court judges.

The EFCC claimed that Nwobike offered them the money to pervert the course of justice. The SAN denied these charges.

The court also did not find him guilty on any offence of offering gratification to a judicial officer.

The EFCC had also detailed in court an exchange of text messages between a deputy registrar of the Federal High Court and Mr Nwobike. The commission alleges that the SAN used the msgs to influence the assignment of his cases before certain judges of the court.

In its amended charges, the Commission specifically listed Mrs Helen Ogunleye, a former registrar to Justice Musa Kurya and another Mr Jide, an assistant Chief Registar as persons whom the Snr Advocate regularly communicated with.

At his trial, Mr Nwobike admitted sending the messages but denied that the intention was to influence the outcome of his cases.

Court Convicts Senior Advocate, Nwobike, Of Justice Perversion

A Lagos High Court has convicted Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Joseph Nwobike, of 12 counts  on allegation of inducement to pervert the cause of justice.

Justice Raliat Adebiyi acquitted him on five counts of giving gratification and one count of making false statement.

Justice Adebiyi has stood down the case for sentencing.

Nwobike was first arraigned on five count charges on March 9, 2016 by the EFCC, which was later amended the charges on two different occasions, each time leading to the re-arraignment of the SAN.

The last amendment to the charges saw Nwobike re-arraigned on February 8, after which the lawyers canvassed their final arguments.

In the charges, EFCC had claimed that Nwobike offered N750,000 and N300,000 gratifications to Justices Mohammed Yunusa and Hyeladzira Nganjiwa, respectively both judges are federal high court judges.

Counsel for the EFCC, Mr Oyedepo, says the money was allegedly meant to prevent the cause of Justice which is section 97 (3) of the criminal law of Lagos state.

Canvassing final arguments Nwobike’s lead counsel, Wale Akoni (SAN), had urged the court to discharge and acquit his client, contending that the EFCC failed to substantiate its allegations against him.

Akoni said contrary to the claim by the EFCC, the N750,000 that Nwobike gave to Justice Yunusa was not a bribe but “for the specific purpose of helping the (sick) mother of the gentleman.”

Bribery Allegation: Court To Deliver Judgement In Senior Lawyer’s Trial April 30

Lagos Chief Judge Inaugurates Special Courts For Corruption Cases
File Photo

 

The Lagos State High Court Sitting in Ikeja has fixed April 30 to deliver judgment in the case of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Joseph Nwobike, who was accused of offering gratification of N750,000 and N300,000 to two judges.

Justice Raliat Adebiyi fixed the judgment date after parties in the suit adopted their final written addresses.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, is prosecuting Mr Joseph Nwobike for offering gratification to Justice Mohammed Yunusa and Justice Hyeladzira Nganjiwa both of whom had been dragged to court by the EFCC.

The EFCC claimed that Mr Nwobike offered them the money to allegedly pervert the course of justice.

But the senior lawyer pleaded not guilty.

Mr Nwobike was first arraigned on five charges on March 9, 2016.

The charges have been amended on two different occasions, each time leading to the re-arraignment of the SAN.

The last amendment to the charges saw Nwobike re-arraigned today (Thursday), after which the lawyers canvassed their final arguments.

Canvassing final arguments on Thursday, Nwobike’s lead counsel, Mr Wale Akoni (SAN), urged the court to discharge and acquit his client, contending that the EFCC failed to substantiate its allegations against him.

Mr Akoni, who argued that there was no law that makes giving gifts to judges a crime, accused the EFCC of being desperate to nail his client at all costs.

He said in the EFCC’s desperation, it had amended the charges on three occasions after seeing that its case was going nowhere.

He said the EFCC’s case was based on mere suspicion or speculation, maintaining that “no matter how sweet or interesting it (speculation) may sound, speculation cannot amount to proof.”

Mr Akoni also said that contrary to the claim by the EFCC, the N750,000 that Nwobike gave to Justice Yunusa was not a bribe but “for the specific purpose of helping the (sick) mother of the gentleman.”

He said all the judgments which the EFCC claimed that Nwobike paid Justice Yunusa to give in his favour were all upheld at the Court of Appeal.

He also wondered why the EFCC failed to call the judges and court officials that Nwobike allegedly bribed to come and testify in court, despite interrogating all of them.

He urged Justice Adebiyi to dismiss the charges and set Nwobike free.

But the EFCC prosecutor, Oyedepo, countered him, urging the court to convict Nwobike.

“Could it be said that in line with the evidence of PW1 to PW7, the exhibits that we have tendered and the evidence elicited from the defendant during cross-examination, the defendant did not commit the offence he was charged with?” Oyedepo queried.

He noted that Nwobike did not deny giving N750,000 to Justice Yunusa when he had cases before the judge, adding that it was no defence that the Court of Appeal upheld Justice Yunusa’s judgments in the cases.

Oyedepo said Akoni turned the law on its head with the arguments that judges can receive monetary gifts.

“The only gifts that are allowed are complimentary gifts – cards, books,” he said.

The EFCC counsel also said it was implausible that the commission would call the judges whom Nwobike allegedly bribed as witnesses since they were also complicit.

He noted that, already, those judges had been separately charged in relation to the allegations.

He urged the judge to apply full probative value to all the evidence given by the prosecution and convict Nwobike accordingly.

After hearing the parties out, Justice Adebiyi adjourned till April 30, 2018, for judgment.

Alleged Bribery: Court Fixes Date For Judgment In Senior Advocate’s Trial

Alleged Bribery: Court Fixes Date For Judgment In Senior Advocate's Trial
File Photo

 

The Lagos State High Court in Ikeja has set a date to deliver judgment in the case of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Joseph Nwobike, who was accused of offering gratification of N750,000 and N300,000 to two judges.

Justice Raliat Adebiyi fixed the judgment date on Thursday after parties in the suit adopted their final written addresses.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Mr Nwobike for offering gratification to Justice Mohammed Yunusa and Justice Hyeladzira Nganjiwa, both of whom had been dragged to court by the EFCC.

The anti-graft agency claimed that the lawyer offered the judges the money to allegedly pervert the course of justice.

Nwobike, who was first arraigned on five counts on March 9, 2016, however, pleaded not guilty.

The charges have been amended on two different occasions, each time leading to the re-arraignment of the senior advocate.

The last amendment to the charges saw Nwobike re-arraigned today (Thursday), after which the lawyers canvassed their final arguments.

His lead counsel, Mr Wale Akoni, urged the court to discharge and acquit his client, contending that the EFCC failed to substantiate its allegations against the lawyer.

Mr Akoni argued that there was no law that makes giving gifts to judges a crime and accused the EFCC of being desperate to nail his client at all costs.

He said in the EFCC’s desperation, it had amended the charges on three occasions after seeing that its case was going nowhere.

Nwobike’s counsel further said the case was based on mere suspicion or speculation, maintaining that “no matter how sweet or interesting it may sound, speculation cannot amount to proof.”

He also noted that contrary to the claim by the EFCC, the N750,000 that Nwobike gave to Justice Yunusa was not a bribe but “for the specific purpose of helping the (sick) mother of the gentleman.”

Mr Akoni said all the judgments which the anti-graft agency claimed that his client paid Justice Yunusa to give in his favour were all upheld by the Court of Appeal.

He also wondered why the EFCC failed to call the judges and court officials that Nwobike allegedly bribed to come and testify in court, despite interrogating all of them.

He then urged Justice Adebiyi to dismiss the charges and set Nwobike free.

On his part, the EFCC prosecutor Rotimi Oyedepo countered Akoni and urged the court to convict Nwobike.

“Could it be said that in line with the evidence of PW1 to PW7, the exhibits that we have tendered and the evidence elicited from the defendant during cross-examination, the defendant did not commit the offence he was charged with?” Oyedepo queried.

He noted that Nwobike did not deny giving N750,000 to Justice Yunusa when he had cases before the judge, adding that it was no defence that the Court of Appeal upheld Justice Yunusa’s judgments in the cases.

The EFCC counsel said Akoni turned the law on its head with the arguments that judges can receive monetary gifts, stressing that “the only gifts that are allowed are complimentary gifts – cards, books.”

He stated that it was implausible that the commission would call the judges whom Nwobike allegedly bribed as witnesses since they were also complicit.

Oyedepo noted that already, those judges had been separately charged in relation to the allegations.

He further urged the judge to apply full probative value to all the evidence given by the prosecution and convict Nwobike accordingly.

After listening to both parties, Justice Adebiyi adjourned till April 30 for judgment.

Trial Of Senior Lawyer, Nwobike Continues In Court

Trial Of Senior Lawyer, Nwobike Continues In Court

The trial of a senior lawyer Joseph Nwobike continued on Wednesday at the Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja.

Mr Nwobike is standing trial on 11 counts bordering on perverting the course of justice and offering gratification to judges.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday told the court that two cases filed and argued by Mr Nwobike before Justice Mohammed Yunusa of the Federal High Court led to the justice’s dismissal from the bench by the National Judicial Council (NJC).

In the two suits namely; John Simon Adhomene against The EFCC and Dr. Femi Thomas against The EFCC, the NJC found that the decisions of Justice Yunusa restraining the anti-graft agency from preventing its lawful duty were contrary to the Court of Appeal decision in the case of the Attorney-General of Anambra State against Andy Ubah.

Counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo demonstrated in court, a letter from the NJC addressed to the Acting Chairman of the EFCC as proof of these claims.

In his defense, Nwobike, however, told the court that he filed and argued the suits to prevent the EFCC from acting without lawful justification.

The EFCC also detailed in court an exchange of text messages between a deputy registrar of the Federal High Court and the senior lawyer.

The commission alleged that the Nwobike used the messages to influence the assignment of his cases before certain judges of the court.

Although the lawyer admitted sending the messages, he denied that the intention was to influence the outcome of his cases.

Presiding Justice Raliatu Adebiyi consequently adjourned till July 21 for further cross-examination of the senior lawyer.

EFCC Vs Fmr NIMASA DG: Court Fixes Feb 21 To Rule On ‘No Case Submission’

EFCC Vs Fmr NIMASA DG: Court Fixes Feb 21 To Rule On 'No Case Submission'A Federal High Court in Lagos has reserved February 21 for judgment in a “no case submission” filed by Calistus Obi, a former acting Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, who is charged with a 136 million Naira fraud.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, fixed the date for judgment after hearing arguments from both defense and prosecuting counsels on the application.

Counsel to the former NIMASA boss, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Wale Akoni, told the court that the EFCC had not made out a prima facie case to secure the conviction of the defendants.

He also told the court that what the prosecuting agency merely did was to ‘bring out all manners of evidence before the court without doing more’.

Another Senior Advocate, Joseph Nwobike who appeared for the second defendant, one Ali Dimas, also urged the court to uphold the same application made by his client.

The EFCC Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, however, opposed these arguments and submitted that the prosecution had shown how funds were transferred and diverted by both defendants.

He urged the court to discountenance the application and instead ask the defendants to open their defense.

Justice Olatoregun then adjourned till February 21 for judgment.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had preferred an eight count charge against Mr. Callistus Obi and the second defendant, Alu Dismas, a former personal assistant to former DG of NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi.

They had however pleaded not guilty to the charges and were admitted to bail in the sum of five million naira each.

Court Adjourns Bribery Case Against Nwobike To April 21

NwobikeThe Lagos State High Court sitting in the Igbosere area of Lagos Island has fixed April 21 for the commencement of trial in the case of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Joseph Nwobike.

Justice Raliat Adebiyi fixed the date following a request by the counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, seeking more time to produce their witnesses in proof of the charges against the senior advocate.

On March 9, the EFCC had arraigned Mr Nwobike on allegations that he gave the sum of N750,000 to Justice Mohammed Yunusa of the Federal High Court to influence the judge to pervert the course of justice.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted bail on self-recognizance by the court.

At the resumed hearing of the matter on Monday April 11, Counsel to Mr Nwobike, Wale Akoni (SAN) informed the court that the charges against his client were unconstitutional and he intended to make a “no case submission”.

Mr Akoni also denied the claim by the prosecution counsel that the defence had filed “a harvest of motions”. The defendant’s lawyer insisted that his client looked forward to a speedy trial so he could clear his name.

The judge adjourned the case till April 21 and 22 for the prosecution to open its case.

Court Asks Rickey Tarfa To Face Trial

Rickey TarfaThe Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has asked Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Rickey Tarfa, to defend the criminal charge against him before pursuing civil damages against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Idris on Tuesday upheld the EFCC’s preliminary objection to Mr Tarfa’s 2.5billion Naira fundamental enforcement rights suit.

The court ordered a stay of proceedings pending the conclusion of Mr Tarfa’s trial at the Lagos State High Court.

He had sued the EFCC for allegedly violating his rights after he was arrested on charges of obstructing the work of the commission and perverting the course of justice.

Mr Tarfa demanded N2.5bn as damages. He also sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the anti-graft agency and its agents from further violating his rights. He also wanted a public apology, as well as the release of his telephones and SUV which were seized by the EFCC.

The EFCC, through their lawyer, Wahab Shittu, however filed a notice of preliminary objection challenging the court’s jurisdiction on the ground that Mr Tarfa’s prayers following his arraignment on the charges at the Lagos State High Court had become academic and hypothetical.

Mr Shittu asked the court to decline jurisdiction in view of the pending criminal charge or in the alternative stay proceedings pending the conclusion of the criminal case against the Senior Advocate.

Justice Idris, however, dismissed the EFCC’s objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter but he agreed with the Commission when he held that it would be “inelegant” for him to make any orders that will undermine the authority of another court of coordinate jurisdiction or bring the judiciary to “ridicule”.

He noted that unless he stays action, there is a real risk of serious prejudice which could lead to potential injustice for the EFCC.

In the interest of justice, the judge ordered a stay of further proceedings in the civil suit pending the determination of the criminal proceedings before the Lagos State High Court.

Counsel to Mr Tarfa, Mr George Oguntade (SAN) declined to comment on the matter but counsel to the EFCC said that it was a brave verdict.

While the order to stay proceedings in this case subsists, Justice Idris said that the EFCC shall ensure respect for the fundamental rights and liberties of Mr Rickey Tarfa as guaranteed by law, including the right to have the criminal charge prosecuted expeditiously.

Mr  Rickey Tarfa was not in court for the verdict in his fundamental rights enforcement suit.

Court Grants Tarfa, Nwobike Bail

Rickey-TarfaTwo Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Rickey Tarfa and Joseph Nwobike were on Wednesday granted bail by a Lagos High Court on self-recognisance. 

The defendants were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), before two different judges of the Lagos High Court sitting in the Igbosere area of Lagos Island in Lagos State.

Mr Tarfa was arraigned on a 27-count charge bordering on ‎failure to declare his assets, making a false statement and offering of gratification to a public official.

A five-count charge of an alleged attempt to pervert the course of justice and also of offering gratification to a public official was preferred against Mr Nwobike.

Both men pleaded not guilty and were admitted to bail on self-recognisance.

The trial of Mr Tarfa has been fixed for March 22‎ and 23 while trial in Mr Nwobike’s case was adjourned till April 11, 21 & 22.

687mln Naira Scam: Akpobolokemi Challenges Court’s Jurisdiction

Akpobolokemi--NIMASAA former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, has challenged the jurisdiction of a Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere, to entertain his trial.

Defence Counsel of Mr Akpobolokemi, Joseph Nwobike, on Monday questioned the competence of the court to preside over the case.

Mr Akpobolokemi is standing trial alongside five others on a 13-count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing and fraudulent conversion of funds, to the tune of 687, 294, 680 Naira.

His co-accused persons are Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Amechee Juan, Vincent Udoye, Captain Ade Sahib Olopoenia and Gama Marine Nigeria Limited.

Nwobike hinged his objection to the jurisdiction of the court on claims that, “only the Federal High Court has exclusive jurisdiction over matters and cases arising from, pertaining to, or connected with the revenue of the Federal Government of Nigeria and its agencies”.

He was joined by Counsel to the fourth defendant, Ige Asemudara, who also brought an application for preliminary objection before the court.

The Presiding Judge, Justice Raliat Adebiyi, ordered the Defense Counsels to consolidate their applications.

Meanwhile, Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Rotimi Oyedepo, brought two witnesses to court for commencement of trial but could not present them, owing to the preliminary objection to the court’s jurisdiction by the defence.

Justice Adebiyi subsequently adjourned the matter till March 9 for arguments on pending applications before the court.

Former NIMASA Boss’ Trial Continues

former NIMASA boss, Patrick AkpobolokemiThe trial of the former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, continued at the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.

The second prosecution witness, a fashion designer, Chukwuemeka Onuoha told the court how his company, Extreme Vertevex Limited was used to siphon over 546,802,000 million Naira from the coffers of the NIMASA for a contract that was not awarded to him on Tuesday.

Led in evidence by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, Onuoha said the money was paid into his account with Zenith Bank even though he did not tender any proposal or carried out any contract for NIMASA.

The disbursement of the money was said to have been facilitated by the 3rd defendant (Ekene Nwakuche) who was his secondary school mate.

Onuoha told the Court that he was later instructed to transfer the money to different accounts by the 3rd defendant.

Under cross examination by Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN), counsel to the first defendant, Onuoha told the Court he had never met the first defendant, (Akpobolokemi) or received any instruction from him.

Also testifying as the 3rd prosecution witness, a Bureau De Change operator, Hussein Sabo, said that on March 2014, he was approached by one Muhammed Darlington, who told him that the 2nd defendants, (Captain Ezekiel Agaba) wanted to buy dollars.

Mr Sabo in his testimony, said “Darlington collected my account numbers and several millions of Naira were paid into the account which I used to buy dollars”, he said.

He also confirmed that on March 3, 2014, monies were paid into his account namely, 33, 800,000 Naira ; 35, 000,000 Naira ; 20, 000,000 Naira and 3, 000,000 Naira respectively.

Mr Sabo also disclosed that between the month of March 2014 and December 2014, he received through his account, 85, 305,000 Naira, 155, 300,000 Naira, 13, 000,000 Naira, 10, 000,000 Naira and 84, 000, 000 Naira respectively.

Justice Ibrahim Buba has adjourned further hearing in the matter till February 2,5, 16 and 19 respectively.

The former Director-General of NIMASA and six others are standing trial over an alleged theft of 2.6 billion Naira belonging to NIMASA.

Mr Akpobolokemi was arraigned before Justice Buba along with three others – Captain Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan – and three companies, namely Blockz and Stonz Limited, Kenzo Logistics Limited and Al-Kenzo Logistic Limited.

In a 22-count charge by the EFCC, they were accused of converting a total of 2, 658,957,666 Naira between December 23, 2013 and May 28 2015.