Bribery: NJC didn’t allow us question judges, says EFCC
A witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Daniel Danladi, on Tuesday, told the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja that the National Judicial Council last year prevented the commission from questioning some judges who were allegedly bribed by some lawyers.
Danladi said this at the resumed proceedings in the trial of a Senior Advocate Nigeria, Dr. Joseph Nwobike for alleged bribery before Justice Raliat Adebiyi.
He stated this while being cross-examined by Nwobike’s lawyer, Mr. Olawale Akoni (SAN).
He stated that though the EFCC had been on the case since March 2016, it was unable to summon and question the judges involved until October 2016.
This, he said, was because the NJC refused to hand the judges over to the anti-graft agency.
He added that when the judges were eventually questioned, they gave reasons why they got various sums of money from the lawyers.
Danladi, who is a detective with the Special Task Force of the EFCC, had earlier identified in the court through a displayed document entitled, “Extraction Report” on the screen in the courtroom in his evidence-in-chief, the names of the four judges who were allegedly involved in the gratification scam.
They are Justice Mohammed Yinusa, Justice H.A. Ngajiwa and Justice Musa Kurya, all of the Federal High Court and Justice James Agbadu-Fishim of the National Industrial Court.
He said the report contained details of 14,317 text messages from Nwobike’s Samsung Galaxy Note 4 mobile phone, seized from him by the anti-graft agency during investigations of the alleged corruption case.
According to him, some of the text messages in the report contained details of bank transactions as well as messages allegedly sent by Nwobike to the judicial officers and judges.
“The result of the extraction report clearly showed that the defendant was conveying money to judges of the various the courts.
“He also wielded influence over which judge should hear his cases.
“This is contrary to the statement that the defendant gave to the EFCC that the only judicial officer he gave financial assistance to was Hon. Justice Yinusa,” Danladi said.
At the Tuesday’s proceedings, Danladi testified that one ‘Debbie Lady’ exchanged text messages with the Nwobike on several occasions.
“She sent a text message to the defendant to ask him about the suit number of a case before a particular judge.
“The defendant replied her with the details: FHC/L/CS/926/2016.
“On another occasion, she text the defendant with ‘it’s done but will give you details later, have a glorious day’ and the defendant responded with ‘Ok, thanks’.
“And on another occasion, she text the defendant that ‘I have given him an envelope containing $2,500, my regards,’” Danladi said.
When being cross-examined, Danladi told the court that Justice Ngajiwa explained that the N300,000 he got from Nwaobike was for the purchase of law books to update his library,
Justice Kurya claimed the N100,000 he received from the defendant was a gift after he was bereaved and for his medical treatment.
Danladi also added that Justice Agbadu-Fishim explained to the commission during questioning that the N150,000 he got from the defendant was a gift and he added that the defendant also corroborated what the judges had said when he was also questioned.