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Bribery: Court Further Adjourns EFCC's Case Against Judge.

An Ikeja Special Offences Court on Thursday adjourned till February 21, the trial of an embattled Federal High Court Judge, Justice Mohammed Yinusa who was accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of receiving gratification from Senior lawyers.

Justice Yinusa is standing trial alongside a staff of Rickey Tarfa's chambers, Esther Agbir who was accused of paying N1.5 million into his account.

Both defendants had pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were arraigned.

At Thursday's proceedings, the EFCC prosecutor, Ali Abah called a forensic expert Umar Mohammed who claimed that the second defendant, (Agbor), refused to take a polygraph test.

'Sometimes on the 31st of May 2017, I received a memo from the EFCC zonal office requesting that the polygraph should be conducted on the second defendant.

'I was contacted by the second defendant (Agbo), she said that she was asked to call me via the investigation team of the Lagos Zonal Office.

'After we spoke, I told her to report to our zonal office in Abuja on June 4, 2017, which she did. On arrival, myself and a colleague, Mohammed Bello interviewed her and she told us about a matter and that the Lagos office is investigating her.

'She said that it was on that note that she was asked to come over because the investigating team were not satisfied with her statement hence the need for a polygraph test.'

Mohammed told the court that he explained to Agbor the rudiments of a polygraph test, noting that individuals are not compelled to take the test and that receiving consent to undergo the test is paramount.

'She said that we should give her time to go and think about it and discuss with her husband which we agreed with.

'On June 7, 2017, she called me on the phone and informed me that she is not going to take the test that her husband advised her against it.

'I told her to come over to put it in writing which she did in the form of a statement,' he said.

The prosecution sought to tender Agbo's EFCC statement and a report on the statement as evidence.

Mr John Odubela (SAN) Agbo's defence counsel, however, objected to the tendering of the documents on the ground that it was not part of the proof of evidence.

'Section 251(1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) 2017 requires that documents to be used in proceedings must be frontloaded.

'My Lord this is a surprise to us and we urge My Lord to reject it,' Odubela said.

Obliging Odubela's submission, Justice Sherifat Solebo in a short ruling, marked the documents as rejected.

While being cross-examined by Odubela, Mohammed told the court that he was not a member of the investigative team that investigated Agbo and Yunusa.

A subpoenaed witness, Mr Caleb Izedomini, presented to the court Certified True Copies (CTC) of the

bank account statements of accounts of the law chambers of Rickey Tarfa (SAN) and Co and bank statement of Justice Mohammed Yunusa from January to February 2014.

Odubela, however, objected to Izedomini tendering the documents.

'The best that the witness can do is to present the document, he cannot tender for the purpose of marking the exhibits,' he said.

Justice Solebo held that the documents will remain in the custody of the court, and thereafter adjourned the matter till February 21 for the continuation of trial.

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Publication:Nigerian Tribune (Oyo State, Nigeria)
Date:Jan 24, 2019
Words:664
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