By Abdulwahab Abdulah
LAGOS—THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday, claimed it was not aware of the owner of the account used in the collection of bribes by the embattled Justice of the Federal High Court, Justice Mohammed Yinusa.
The revelation was made when a prosecution witness, Moses Awolusi, an EFCC investigator was confronted with a sworn affidavit deposed to by one Mohammed Awal Yinusa, who claimed to be the bonafide owner of an Access Bank account which the anti-graft agency claimed the embattled Federal High Court Judge, Justice Yinusa used in collecting bribes from two senior lawyers.
Justice Yinusa is standing trial before an Ikeja Special Offences Court for allegedly collecting bribes from former Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Joseph Nwobike and another SAN, Rickey Tarfa alongside Esther Agbor, a staff of Tarfa’a chambers, who was accused of paying N1.5 million into his account.
During yesterday’s proceedings, Awolusi was cross examined by Agbor’s counsel, J. O Odubela, SAN, who showed him a sworn affidavit deposed to by Mohammed Awal Yinusa.
In the affidavit, Yinusa (the owner of the account) said he is a legal practitioner, who was called to bar in 2010 and that he was employed as a counsel in Rickey Tarfa’a chambers.
Specifically, the deponent averred that on the 7th of January he supplied his employers with his Access Bank account where the sum of N225,000 was paid in order for him to use it to augment his expenses for the LLM course.
The deponent further attached his statement of account and his account opening mandate bearing his passport photograph was attached to the sworn affidavit, while admitting that the affidavit was sent to the EFCC but maintained that the account belonged to Justice Yinusa.
Awolusi said: “My Lord Justice Yinusa admitted during investigation that he collected the said sum from the Chambers of Rickey Tarfa for his father’s burial.
“Even the learned Senior Advocate (pointing to Odubela) who works for Rickey Tarfa’s Chambers admitted that they indeed paid the said sum into Justice Yinusa’s account. Mr. Odubela deposed to that affidavit and admitted that they paid the money into the Judge’s account.”
“I know for a fact that N225,000 was paid into Yinusa’s account and Yinusa replied via a text message saying, “ thank you my learned SAN. “
Awolusi also maintained that during investigation, the account mandate was obtained, but, however, declined to say whose name was on it.
The matter has been adjourned till December 10 for continuation of trial.