Court Sentences Nwobike to 1 Year in Imprisonment for Perversion of Justice

Court Sentences Nwobike to 1 Year in Imprisonment for Perversion of Justice

Joseph Nwobike, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has been sentenced to one-month in prison without a fine option.

Another count reads: " That you, Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN), on the 15th day of December, 2014 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, intentionally and directly gave the sum of N 250,000.00 (Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira only) to one Mrs. Ogunleye Helen Aderonke, Senior Executive officer, Federal High Court Lagos judicial division in order that the said Mrs. Ogunleye Helen Aderonke acts in the exercise of her official duties".

EFCC, in the charges, claimed that Nwobike offered N750,000 and N300,000 gratifications to Justices Mohammed Yunusa and Hyeladzira Nganjiwa, respectively both judges are federal high court judges.

In a notice of appeal which was immediately filed by Nwobike's lawyer, Wale Akoni (SAN), Nwobike contended that the allegation of attempt to pervert justice was not proved by the EFCC.

But the judge used her discretion and refused to punish the lawyer with the maximum penalty allowed.

The judges, who also allegedly received the gratification from the lawyers, are also facing criminal prosecution by the EFCC.

"I salute the courage of the judge, Justice Raliatu Adebiyi, who was able to apply the law forcefully not minding whose ox is gored".

The lawyer pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The prosecution called seven witnesses before closing its case while the defence opened with only one witness - Mr Nwobike. 23, 2015 Nwobike sent a text containing Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1471 between Mr Simon Adohmene and the EFCC to Justice Yunusa. He added that he had known the judge since his days as a counsel at the Federal Ministry of Justice.

The judge stood the case down, rose and went into her chambers.

In her judgment, Mrs Adebiyi said the prosecution failed to prove that the monies paid to the judges and to Ms Ogunleye were meant to influence justice.

Last year, Yunusa was dismissed for granting orders restraining the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practises and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and the police from arresting some personalities being tried for corruption, including Stella Oduah, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Anambra state.

At his trial, Mr Nwobike admitted sending the messages but denied that the intention was to influence the outcome of his cases. We urge your lordship to serve as deterrent to young lawyers, the SANs and other senior members of the Bar.