Senior lawyer, Joseph Nwobike, SAN, convicted for bribing judges

Dr. Joseph Nwobike, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has been found guilty of 12-count charge of attempting to pervert the course of Justice.

The prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, said the offence carries a prison term of two years, but the defence counsel, Mr. Wale Akoni (SAN), said sentence is at the judge’s discretion, and pleaded with Justice Adebiyi to temper justice with mercy.

He was found guilty for offering N750,000 and N300,000 gratifications to Justice Mohammed Yunusa and Hyeladzira Nganjiwa both of whom are judges at the Federal High Court.

Nwobike who has been facing an 18-count charge was however discharged and acquitted for six count charge.

Justice Raliat Adebiyi, ruling on Monday, said the EFCC proved beyond reasonable doubts that the SAN was in constant communication with court officials to influence the assignment of his cases to his preferred judges.

She said Nwobike “is found guilty and convicted of attempting to pervert the course of justice”

Praying the court to ensure Nwobike was punished for his act, counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo told the court that a person found guilty of pervesing the course of justice is liable to two years imprisonment

He added that if the court fails to give such judgment it would amount to turn the law upside down.

But Nwobike’s lead counsel, Mr Akoni (SAN), had urged the court to discharge and acquit his client, contending that the EFCC failed to substantiate its allegations against him.

Akoni said contrary to the claim by the EFCC, the N750,000 that Nwobike gave to Justice Yunusa was not a bribe but “for the specific purpose of helping the (sick) mother of the gentleman.”

Juatice Adebiyi ordered the court to go on a short recess in order for her to prepare her sentence.

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