The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission yesterday started the interrogation of two judges of the Federal High Court – Mohammed Nasir Yunusa and Hyeladzira Ajiya Nganjiwa – for allegedly receiving bribe from senior lawyers, Rickey Tarfa (SAN) and Joseph Nwobike (SAN), The Nation learnt
The invitation of the judges came barely four days after the EFCC said it was probing eight judges and two court registrars.
The commission also said another judge under probe had secured a Federal High Court order to stop further investigation.
The EFCC said it had been in court trying to vacate the injunction of the Federal High Court.
It, however, said that those being investigated were not part of the nine judges already grilled by the Department of State Security Services (DSS).
It was the turn of the two judges yesterday. Others are awaiting the invitation of the EFCC.
The judges arrived at the commission’s Lagos office around 10:05, following an invitation.
“Their invitation was sequel to the bribery and money laundering allegations the commission discovered during investigations in an ongoing case in which two senior lawyers have already been arraigned in court,” a source said.
The EFCC on March 9, 2016 arraigned Tarfa and Nwobike before a Lagos High Court on allegations of bribery and offering gratification to a public official.
Nwobike and Tarfa are facing criminal prosecution for allegedly offering gratification to Federal High Court judges to prevent them from exercising the duties of their office.
Subsequent investigation revealed that the two Judges allegedly received sums of money from the two senior lawyers, a source said.
The allegations against the two SANs are as follows:
That you Rickey Tarfa SAN on the 29th day of January 2014 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this honourable court intentionally gave the sum of N1, 500,000 to Hon. Justice Nganjiwa Hyeladzira Ajiya of the Federal High Court directly from your Zenith Bank Account No. 1002926967 in order that the said judge acts in the exercise of his official duties.
That you Rickey Tarfa SAN on or about the 15th day of December, 2015 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court intentionally gave the sum of N500, 000 to Hon. Mohammed Nasir Yunusa of the Federal High Court indirectly through Awa Ajia Nigeria Limited’s account No. 0000971941 domiciled in Access Bank Plc belonging to Hon. Justice Nganjiwa Hyeladzira Ajiya in order that Hon. Mohammed Nasir Yunusa refrains from acting in the exercise of his official duties.”
That you Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN) on the 28th day of March 2015 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, intentionally gave the sum of N750,000 to Honourable Justice Mohammed Nasir Yunusa of the Federal High Court directly through your United Bank for Africa Account No. 1002664061 in order that the said Judge refrains from acting in the exercise of his official duties and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 64 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State No. 11 of 2011.