How Senior Advocates of Nigeria paid millions into account of judge accused of corruption – Witness

HON. JUSTICE JAMES AGBADU
Justice James Agbadu-Fishim. [Photo credit: Sahara Reporters]

A staff of First Bank, Solomon Akhanolu, testifying at the ongoing corruption trial of Justice James Agbadu-Fishim revealed on Friday that some Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) made deposits of various sums into Mr. Agbadu-Fishim’s bank accounts.

The trial is taking place at an Ikeja High Court in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Mr. Agbadu-Fishim of the Lagos Division of the National Industrial Court is facing 19-counts of unlawful enrichment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

He is alleged to have illegally received N4.4 million from seven SANs, a lawyer and a law firm from 2013 to 2015.

The seven SANs accused of unlawfully enriching the judge are Felix Fagbohungbe, Paul Usoro, Uche Obi, Muiz Banire, Adeniyi Akintola, Gani Adetola Kazeem and Joseph Nwobike.

Mr. Agbadu-Fishim is also alleged to have received funds from a Lagos-based lawyer, Enobong Etteh and Alliance Law Firm.

While being led in evidence by Wahab Shittu, the lead prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Akhanolu said: “I am employed by First Bank of Nigeria as a forensic officer and by Nov. 3, 2017, I would be in the bank’s employment for eight years.

“My primary duty is to act as an intermediary between the bank and law enforcement agencies. On Oct. 13, 2016, I received a letter from the EFCC requesting for some bank account documents of James Agbadu-Fishim.

“There are three accounts namely, 3008199491, 2006900326 and 0009508696 respectively, belonging to Mr Agbadu-Fishim James,” he said.

Flipping through bank documents, the forensic officer gave a detailed account of how various sums were deposited by some members of the bar into Agbadu-Fishim’s accounts.

“From the information generated from account number 300819491, on December 5, 2013, Chief Felix Fagbohungbe (SAN) made a deposit of N200, 000. On December 19, 2014, a deposit of N250, 000 was made by Fagbohungbe.

“On February 26, 2015, another deposit of N250, 000 was made by the same Mr. Fagbohungbe and on August 7, 2014, a deposit of N250, 000 was also made by Fagbohungbe.

“On March 25, 2015, a cash deposit of N200, 000 was done by Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN) and on March 26, 2015, Usoro also made another deposit of N200, 000.

“On October 24, 2014, a cash deposit of N200, 000 was made by Mr Enobong Etteh and on Feb. 10, 2015, there was a fund transfer of N100, 000 from Mr Adetola Kazeem (SAN).”

Mr. Akhanolu in his testimony gave further details of various deposits made by lawyers into 2006900216, a second First Bank account, which is also in the name of the judge.

“On October 17, 2013, a cash deposit of N150, 000 was made by Mr. Uche Obi (SAN); on December 20, 2013, Obi made a deposit of N100, 000.

“Dr Muiz Banire (SAN) paid N500, 000 into the account on June 20, 2013.

“On July 1, 2013, Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN) made a deposit of N200,000 and on December 29, 2014, Dr Joseph Nwobike (SAN) deposited N100,000,” the forensic officer revealed.

While being cross-examined by Kanu Agabi, the lead defence counsel for Mr. Agbadu-Fishim, Mr. Akhanolu affirmed the authenticity of the bank documents.

“I can vouch for the authenticity of these documents because they were generated by the systems of First Bank and the information was gotten from the inflow and outflow of transactions by customers.

“The bank did not have any problem with these accounts and entries up until the EFCC required them and the bank never reported these transactions to the EFCC.

“I personally don’t know the persons who made these deposits and I also don’t know the purposes for which the deposits were made,” Mr. Akhanolu said.

After Mr. Akhanolu’s testimony, Mr. Shittu told the court that the EFCC had 20 prosecuting witnesses, who were to testify against the judge in the case.

“We will be requesting for a short adjournment because we will be calling 20 witnesses to testify as shown in the proof of evidence and we are interested in fast-tracking the proceedings,” Mr. Shittu said.

Justice Raliatu Adebiyi adjourned the case until November 23, November 24 and December 1, 13, 14 and 15 for continuation of trial.

(NAN)


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  • Tunde Akinwunmi

    I can bet you that the SAN’s that paid the money into the judges account will make us to believe that it was just a friendly assistance to a fellow learner friend. Come to think of it, there’s no where in the world that clean system obtain but it’s just that in Nigeria we lift the bar at things, albeit the opposite.

    • forestgee

      You are right…but it is a criminal case and the burden of prove is beyond all reasonable doubt! If the Lawyers who paid monies into his account had no pending cases in his court, it will be difficult for the prosecution. We have to wait.

      • Sanssouci

        “If the Lawyers who paid monies into his account had no pending cases in his court, it will be difficult for the prosecution”
        Correct, very difficult, moreso we are talking about cash lodgments, the lawyers can simply deny it was them, in Naija u can go to a bank and fill out “Santa Claus” as the person paying no questions will ever be asked for these small amounts

        • SBA

          You are right but they can trace the people who actually made such deposits. Remember there are CCTV cameras in the bank.

          • Sanssouci

            yup that’s why I stated “If” that is the only evidence

        • James Hope

          Not all of them were cash payments. Some were transfers from the payer’s account. Thats’s why its easy to trace. Of course the cash payments can easily be disputed.

      • GusO

        Now, you’re giving hints to these corrupt SANs on how to evade being caught in the future bribing judges. They can give the money to other SANs not having cases with the judges to pass it on to the corrupt judges on their behalf.

  • Galantman

    Hmmmmm. Oh God. Save this country from justice to the highest bidder.
    No wonder the courts are busy giving contradictory judgments on the same case and getting a court injunctions is as easy as buying biscuits from a malams cubicle!!!!!!

  • BABUYANMA

    Firing Squad for the judge and the lawyers. Nigeria needs CLEANSING

  • Goks

    This is not acceptable. The North has been seriously marginalised in this bribery case. All the accused are southerners. AREWA Consultative Forum (ACF) must protest.

    CAN & JNI already represented so. No religious angle to push

  • Val Offia

    Is it a crime for money to be paid into bank account of somebody who is a judge? Why assume it is corruption without proof. These are mischievous sensational headlines

    • James Hope

      If you’re not familiar with the ethics of judicial service, why not just keep quiet? WHY ASK AN IGNORANT QUESTION LIKE THIS?

  • Dike Offor

    Olodo SAN Na we get plenty