A Nigerian Judge, Justice Agbadu Fishim, who was charged with allegedly collecting N3.5m from seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria, was on Tuesday granted bail on self recognition by an Ikeja High Court.
While granting Justice Fishim bail, the presiding Judge, Justice Raliat Adebiyi asked the defendant 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 recognizance and he is also expected to deposit his international passport with the Chief Registrar of the court,” Justice Adebiyi ruled.
Earlier while applying for bail, Fishim’s counsel, Professor Amuda Kehinde pleaded that his client be granted bail in self recognizance based on his position as a sitting judge.
.”He was served yesterday (Monday) at 5pm, and he responded immediately. He is a sitting Judge and he has a lot to lose, if he decides to jump bail,”Kehinde said.
EFCC Prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo however did not oppose the bail application but asked the court to condition the bail so that the defendant would be mandated to attend trial.
The EFCC brought against the Judge 19 charges of unlawful enrichment, maintaining that he could not give a reasonable explanation of how the monies passed through his First Bank account.
The anti-graft agency alleged that Justice Fishim received an aggregate of N3.5m from seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria, one other Lagos-based lawyer and one law firm between 2013 and 2015.
The money, the EFCC claimed in the charge sheet, was paid into the judge’s First Bank account with number 3008199491.
The judge, according to the EFCC, allegedly received a total of N1.15m from Chief Felix Fagbohungbe (SAN) between December 5, 2013 and February 26, 2015.
He allegedly received a total of N700,000 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 gave him N100,000 on February 10, 2015; and Mr. Uche Obi, who gave him N250,000 between October 17 and 20, 2013.
Others are: 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.
The EFCC also claimed that Justice Fishim received a total of N250,000 from Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN), in tranches of N150,000 and N100,000 on December 12, 2014 and September 10, 2015 respectively; while a Lagos-based lawyer, Enobong Etteh, was said to have transferred N200,000 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 fixed for October 11,12 and 13