EFCC Loses As Supreme Court Voids Conviction Of Dr. Nwobike, Reinstates SAN Title

The Supreme Court has upturned the conviction of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dr. Joseph Agburuwhuo Nwobike.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had arraigned him before a Lagos State High Court for the perversion of justice.

The 18 counts bordered on attempting to pervert the course of justice, offering gratification to a public officer and giving false information to an EFCC official. He was convicted in 2018 on 12 of the counts by Justice Raliatu Adebiyi.

Nwobike was subsequently stripped of his SAN title.

Dissatisfied with his conviction, he appealed the matter but the Court of Appeal upheld the conviction.

However, a five-member panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola on Monday quashed the conviction.

The court ruled that the EFCC lacked the power to prosecute anyone for the offence of perversion of justice.

The EFCC had on March 9, 2016 arraigned Mr. Nwobike before Justice Adebiyi on a five​-​count charge of allegedly offering gratification and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

The lawyer faced criminal prosecution for allegedly bribing Justice Mohammed Yunusa of the Federal High Court judge to refrain from exercising the duties of his office.

The defendant admitted in his statement to the EFCC that he gave N750,000 to Justice Yunusa to assist the Judge in th​​e treatment of his ailing mother who allegedly suffered from kidney disease.

One of the counts reads: “You Dr Joseph Nwobike (SAN) on the 28th day of March 2015 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, intentionally gave the sum of N750,000 to Honourable Justice Mohammed Nasir Yunusa of the Federal High Court directly through your United Bank for Africa Account No. 1002664061 in order that the said Judge refrains from acting in the exercise of his official duties and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 64 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State No. 11 of 2011”.

Mr. Nwobike pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him, hence the trial which judgment was given today.

He was sentenced to one month in prison for each of the 12 counts and was stripped of his Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) title.

He approached the Court of Appeal but his case was dismissed in December 2019, before approaching the Supreme Court.

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