A dismissed judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Mohammed Yunusa, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday battled over an Access Bank account number, which the anti-graft agency alleged that the embattled judge used in receiving bribes from two Senior Advocates of Nigeria.
The judge and the agency, before the Lagos State Special Offences Court in Ikeja, argued about a sworn affidavit deposed to by one Mohammed Awal Yunusa, who claimed that his Access Bank account, numbered 0060351694, was mistaken for that of Justice Yunusa by the EFCC.
Justice Yunusa is standing trial alongside one Esther Agbo, who works in the law firm of Rickey Tarfa & Co.
The judge and Agbo were arraigned for alleged attempt to pervert the course of justice and offering gratification to a public official.
The EFCC alleged that Justice Yunusa collected N1.5m from Agbo’s boss, Mr Rickey Tarfa (SAN), for the purpose of giving judgments favourable to the SAN’s law firm.
At the Wednesday’s proceedings during cross-examination by Agbor’s counsel, J.O. Odubela (SAN), an EFCC investigator, Moses Awolusi, was shown the sworn affidavit deposed to by Mohammed Awal Yinusa, who said he once worked in Rickey Tarfa’s chambers before gaining admission into Abu Bayero University.
He said while leaving, his former employer paid N225,000 into his Access Bank account to augment his expenses for the LLM course.
However, Awolusi, who maintained that the account belonged to Justice Yinusa, confirmed that the affidavit was sent to the EFCC.
He said, “My Lord, Justice Yinusa admitted during the 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 in 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’.”
When asked if he was aware of the judgment of Justice Raliat Adebiyi of the Lagos High Court in April 2018 in the case of the EFCC vs Joseph Nwobike, where Justice Adebiyi ruled that the EFCC failed to prove that Nwobike bribed Justice Yinusa with N750, 000, Awolusi said he was not aware.
Further proceedings in the case have been adjourned till December 10, 2018.