The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Lagos zonal office, on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 arraigned Justice Mohammed Yunusa, a suspended Federal High Court judge, before Justice S. O Solebo of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, on a 5-count charge bordering on unlawful gratification and attempt to pervert justice.
Justice Yunusa was arraigned alongside one Esther Agbor, an employee of Rickey Tarfa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
One of the counts reads:
“That you, Mohammed Nasir Yunusa, between February and September 2015, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, being a public official to wit: a judge of a Federal High Court attempted to pervert the course of justice by engaging in constant private and confidential telephone communications with Rickey Tarfa, SAN, counsel to the applicants in (i) Suit No FHC/L/CS/714/2015 between Mr. Adewale Adeniyi vs. EFCC and two others; (ii) Suit No. FHC/L/CS/715/2015 between Rena Prestige Industry Limited and Anor vs. EFCC and two others; (iii) Suit No. FHC/L/CS/716/2016 between Hair Prestige Manufacturing Nigeria Limited and three others vs. EFCC during the period you presided over the said suits as a judge of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi.”
Another count reads:
“That you, Mohammed Nasir Yunusa, on or about the 14th May, 2015, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, being a public official to wit: a judge of the Federal High Court agreed to receive the sum of N1,500, 000 paid into his United Bank of Africa Plc account number 1005055617 by Esther Agbor, in order to give a decision in favour of the chambers of Rickey Tarfa & Co. in cases handled by the said chambers before you as the judge of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi.”
The defendants, whose arraignment was stalled last year, pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them.
Counsel to the first defendant, I. Mohammed, urged the court to grant bail to the suspended judge on self-recognizance.
He argued that the defendant (Justice Yunusa) “is still a serving judge and has not been dismissed by the Federal government”.
In a similar token, counsel to the second defendant, John Olusegun Odubela, SAN, also urged the court to grant his client (Agbor) bail on self-recognizance or on liberal terms.
Odubela argued that his client “is a nursing mother, who is having some health challenges”.
Responding, A. C. Ozioko, counsel to the EFCC,opposed the application saying, “My Lord, in the event that bail is granted, it should be on conditions that will compel the defendants to always attend trial.”
Justice Solebo granted the first defendants bail on self-recognizance without any financial undertaking.
However, the judge ordered Justice Yunusa not to travel out of the jurisdiction of the court without the notice of the court.
The EFCC was also ordered to hand over Justice Yunusa’s international passport to the court’s registrar.
The second defendant was granted bail in the sum of N1million with two sureties in like sum. The sureties must have verifiable addresses within the jurisdiction of the court and must have tax clearance evidence of three years.
The matter has been adjourned to February 20, 2018 for commencement of trial.