Photo: EFCC arraigns judge for $260,000, N8.6m fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Friday arraigned a Federal High Court judge, Justice Hyeladzira Nganjiwa, before Justice Adedayo Akintoye of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Igbosere, Lagos on a 14-count charge bordering on unlawful enrichment and giving false information to the EFCC.
Justice Nganjiwa is facing trial for failure to disclose the source of the sum of over $260,000 that he allegedly received through his bank account between 2013 and 2015. He also allegedly received the sum of N8.6 million from unknown sources within the same period. The alleged offences are in contravention of Section 82(a) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State No. 11, 2011.

During today’s proceedings, Justice Akintoye ruled on the preliminary objection to the charge. The accused, through his counsel, Chief Robert Clarke, SAN, had filed an application challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the case. The defence further stated that only the National Judicial Council, NJC, has the power to deal with the matter.

However, Justice Akintoye dismissed the application on the grounds that it lacked merit.
"The notice of preliminary objections is hereby dismissed, “he said.

The judge further ruled that the high Court of Lagos had jurisdiction to entertain the matter, despite the fact that the defendant is a judicial officer of Federal Government sitting in the Federal High Court, Asaba division. Counsel to the defendant, Clarke, also told the court that the prosecution failed to attached the title "Honourable Justice" to his client’s name.

In response, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, moved a motion orally to amend the charges. Thereafter, the accused took his plea.
The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were read to him. In view of his plea, Oyedepo asked the court for a trial date and prayed that the accused be remanded in prison custody. However, Clark urged the court to grant his client bail on self- recognizance.
Oyedepo, in his response, objected to the application for bail moved by the defence counsel, while urging the court to impose conditions that would secure the attendance of the accused in court for trial.

“My Lord, if the accused will be granted bail, it should not be on self- recognizance,” Oyedepo added

Oyedepo further urged the court to grant accelerated hearing of the matter. After listening to both counsel, Justice Akintoye granted the defendant bail on self-recognizance. The accused was ordered to deposit his international passport with the Chief Registrar of the court within the seven days.

The matter was adjourned to October 6th and 10th for trial.


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