By Abdulwahab Abdulah & Jane Echewedo
Efforts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to arraign a Federal High Court Judge, Justice Mohammed Yunusa before the Lagos State High Court, due to administrative hiccups at the court.
The EFCC had filed five corruption charges against the judge which included allegation of engaging in constant private and confidential communications with a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Rickey Tarfa, who was handling three lawsuits marked FHC/L/CS/714/2015, FHC/L/CS/715/2015 and FHC/L/CS/716/2015 before him.
The anti-crime agency also accused the judge of collecting N1.5 m from the SAN for the purpose of giving favourable judgments to the SAN’s law firm.
Before yesterday scheduled arraignment, the Lagos State High Court had served hearing notices on the prosecution and the defence to appear before Justice Mojisola Dada, for the hearing of the case, however, on getting to the court, it was discovered that the case was not listed for hearing yesterday.
The Registrars informed the parties that the case file had been returned to the administrative judge and advised the parties to follow up at the main court’s registry.
Consequently, Justice Yunusa, who was in court left with his lawyer.
It was learned that the case had first been assigned to Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye, of the same court before the case file was withdrawn and later transferred to Justice Dada.
In the charges, Justice Yunusa, who has been suspended by the National Judicial Council, NJC, was accused of attempting to pervert the course of justice, contrary to Section 97(3) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, No. 11, 2011.
Expected to be arraigned with Justice Yunusa was one Esther Agbo, who works in the law firm of Rickey Tarfa & Co.
The EFCC claimed that Agbo on May 14, 2015 paid N1.5m into Justice Yunusa’s UBA account number 1005055617.
The judge was also accused of receiving financial benefits in the sum of N750, 000 from Mr. Joseph Nwobike between March and September 2015.
The EFCC claimed that the judge received the money so that he could give decisions in favour of the SAN in his cases. The offence is said to be contrary to Section 64(1)(a) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State No.11, 2011.