Thursday, 14 December 2017

Corruption Charges:Suspended Justice Yinusa's Trial Postponed

The arraignment of a judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Mohammed Yunusa, before a Lagos State High Court in Ikeja for alleged charges of perversion of the course of justice and corruption was stalled yesterday, owing to administrative lapses.

Although Justice Yunusa was in court with his lawyer, Mr. Olusegun Odubela (SAN), from the chamber of Rickey Tarfa (SAN), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) could not proceed with his prosecution as the matter was not listed in the court’s list.

It was gathered that the High Court of Lagos State had served hearing notices on parties to appear before Justice Mojisola Dada yesterday for the case.

The matter took a new turn when it was discovered that the case was not listed for hearing before the judge yesterday.

The registrars informed the parties that the case file had been returned to the administrative judge.

Parties in the matter were advised to follow up at the main court’s registry for a hearing date.

Consequently, Justice Yunusa, who has already been placed on suspension by the National Judicial Council (NJC) and his lawyer, departed the court premises.

It was learnt that the case had earlier been assigned to Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye but the case file was withdrawn and later transferred to Justice Mojisola Dada.

The EFCC had preferred five-count charges of corruption against Justice Yunusa.

The charges bordered on attempting to pervert the course of justice; corruption by public official and offering of gratification  to a public official contrary to section 64(1)(a) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State No 11, 2011.

The judge is to face trial alongside one Esther Agbo, who works in the law firm of Rickey Tarfa & Co.

The EFCC had alleged that between February and September 2015, the judge attempted to pervert the course of justice by engaging in constant private and confidential  telephone communications with Tarfa, counsel to the applicants in three lawsuits between Mr. Adewale Adeniyi Vs EFCC and two others;  suit  between Rena Prestige Industries Limited and another Vs EFCC and two others and  between Hair Prestige Manufacturing Nigeria Limited and three others Vs EFCC and two others  contrary to Section 97(3) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State No 11, 2011.

It said that Justice Yunusa presided over the three suits during this period as a judge of the Federal High Court.

The anti-graft agency also alleged that the judge collected N1.5 million from Tarfa for the purpose of giving  judgments favourable to the counsel’s law  firm contrary to section 63(1)(b)(ii) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State No 11, 2011.

The EFCC claimed that the money was paid into the judge’s account number 1005055617 with UBA on May 14, 2015 by co-defendant, Esther Agbo.

The commission alleged among others  that the defendant, despite being a judge of the Federal High Court agreed to receive N1.5million which was paid into his UBA account by Agbo, to give favourable judgement to Tarfa.

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