THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned judge of the National Industrial Court (NIC), Justice Agbadu Fishim, for allegedly collecting N4.65 million from seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs).
The judge, who was arraigned before Justice Raliat Adebiyi of an Ikeja High Court, was however granted bail on self-recognisance.
Justice Fishim was arraigned on a 19-count charge of unlawful enrichment.
EFCC’s prosecutor Rotimi Oyedepo alleged that Justice Fishim received an aggregate of N4.65 million from seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria, one other Lagos-based lawyer and a law firm between 2013 and 2015.
Oyedepo claimed the money was paid into the judge’s First Bank account, numbered 3008199491.
He said the judge could not give a reasonable explanation of how the money came into his First Bank account.
Justice Fishim, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
His counsel, Prof. Amuda Kehinde, pleaded that his client be granted bail in self-recognisance.
Kehinde argued that his client is a sitting judge and would not jump bail.
He said he was served with the court papers yesterday about 5p.m and he responded immediately.
“He is a sitting judge and he has a lot to lose, if he decides to jump bail,” Kehinde said.
Oyedepo did not oppose the bail application.
He, however, asked the court to attach conditions to the bail such that the defendant would be mandated to attend trial.
Justice Adebiyi granted bail to Justice Fishim and directed him to deposit his international passport with the court registrar.
“It is the discretion of the court to grant bail to the defendant. It should be noted that the main function of bail is so that the defendant attends trial.
“The defendant is a sitting Judge of the National Industrial Court, who is facing a 19-count charge of unlawful enrichment, which is a bailable offence.
“I hereby grant the defendant bail on self-recognisance and he is also expected to deposit his international passport with the court Chief Registrar,” Justice Adebiyi ruled.
In the charge sheet, the EFCC alleged that the judge received N1.4 million from Chief Felix Fagbohungbe (SAN) between December 5, 2013 and February 26, 2015.
He was alleged to have received N1.1 million in multiples tranches from Paul Usoro (SAN) between August 5, 2014 and March 26, 2015.
Other SANs, from whom the judge allegedly received money, were Chief Gani Adetola-Kazeem, who allegedly gave him N100,000 on February 10, 2015; and Mr. Uche Obi, who gave him N250,000 between October 17 and 20, 2013.
Dr. Muiz Banire (SAN) allegedly gave the judge N500,000 on June 20, 2013; and Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN), who gave him a total of N500,000 in two tranches on June 3, 2013 and February 26, 2015.
The EFCC claimed that Justice Fishim received N250,000 from Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN), in two tranches on December 12, 2014 and September 10, 2015.
A Lagos-based lawyer, Enobong Etteh, was said to have transferred N300,000 to the judge on October 27, 2014.
A law firm, Alliance Law Firm, according to the EFCC, also paid N250,000 into the judge’s account on August 21, 2015.
Justice Fishim’s trial has been adjourned till October 11, 2017.