Emmanuel Thomas l Friday, October 13, 2017
IKEJA, Lagos, Nigeria – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC said it has 20 witnesses which are ready to testify against the embattled Industrial Court Judge, Justice Agbadu James Fishim.
Counsel to the EFCC, Wahab Shittu who was speaking at a Lagos High Court, sitting in Ikeja said all the witnesses have confirmed their readiness to testify in the matter. The EFCC had arraigned Justice Fishim before an Ikeja High Court on 19 count charge for allegedly receiving N3.5m from seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria.
The agency maintained that he could not give reasonable explanation of how the monies passed through his First Bank account.
At the hearing today, the EFCC presented a witness, Solomon Akhanolu a forensics officer with First Bank who gave a detailed explanation of the transactions of Justice Fiahim’s three bank accounts domiciled with First Bank.
He told rhe court he had worked with FirstBank for 8 years and that his duties involved liasing with security agencies like the EFCC, the ICPC and the police. The witness further stated that specifically on the 13th of October 2016, he got a letter from the EFCC mandating him to produce mandate cards, BVN, the account opening packages of accounts numbers: 3008199491, 2006900216, 0009508696 all belonging to Justice Fishim.
“From the information generated from the inflow and outflow of the account it was avery active one,” Akhanolu said. He explained, between December 2013 and March 2015, there were regular deposits in the account.
“Sometimes in Aug 2014, one Paul Usoro made a cash deposit of N250,000 into one of the accounts. One Ugo Dabiri also deposited N250,000 into the account also around this period.
“One Gani Adetola Kazeem deposited N100,000 into the account, while one Uche Obi also deposited N150,000 into Justice Fiahim’s account. On June 13 2014, Dr Muiz Banire also deposited N500,000 into Fiahim’s account while Joseph Nwobike also deposited N100,000 into one of the accounts,”Akhanolu revealed. However during cross examination by Justice Fiahim’s counsel Kanu Agabi SAN, Akhanolu he did not originate the statement.
“They were generated from FirstBank’s computers and I am only here to explain them. I also do not know personally the people that deposited money into the accounts and also for what purpose,” he said. While asking the court for an adjournment, Wahab Shittu ( EFCC counsel) told the court that they had initially listed 16 witnesses to testify but that they have 4 more.
“My Lord we have at least 20 witnesses and we hope to have as many of the available at the next adjourned date,” Shittu said. Justice Raliat Adebiyi subsequently granted and adjournment and thereafter adjourned the matter till November 23 for continuation of trial.
According to the charge sheet, Justice Fishim allegedly received an aggregate of N3.5m from seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria, a Lagos-based lawyer and a law firm between 2013 and 2015.
He was alleged to have received the total sum of N1.15m from Chief Felix Fagbohungbe (SAN) between December 5, 2013 and February 26, 2015. Fishim, in addition received a total of N700,000 in multiple tranches from Paul Usoro (SAN) between August 5, 2014 and March 26, 2015. He also received money from Chief Gani Adetola-Kazeem, who transferred N100,000 on February 10, 2015; and Mr. Uche Obi, who transferred N250,000 between October 17 and 20, 2013.
Others include: Dr. Banire (SAN), who according to the EFCC, gave the judge N500,000 on June 20, 2013; and Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN), who gave him a total of N300,000 in two tranches of N200,000 and N100,000 on June 3, 2013 and February 26, 2015 respectively.