Taiwo Oreagba Jailed
After a two years trial, the lawyer was convicted and sentenced on Friday for soliciting a N4million bribe following her arraignment by the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC).
Justice Taiwo held that Oreagba did not controvert the content of a voice recording wherein she was heard bragging that she would use the N4m to bribe EFCC officials for a soft landing for her client.
Oreagba was originally arraigned by the EFCC on 12 November 2020, before Justice Sherifat Solebo of the Special Offences Court in Ikeja, where she pleaded not guilty to a two-count charge bordering on alleged corrupt demand and obtaining the N4 million by false pretence.
At that time, Oreagba, a counsel to Kelechi Uka – who was under investigation by the EFCC – was alleged to have collected the N4m from one Henry Umoh supposedly to influence EFCC agents to secure Uka’s release.
Uka is standing trial on offences relating to stealing at the Lagos State High Court.
Oreagba was accused of committing the offence on or about the 2nd March 2020 in Lagos.
Following the defendant’s plea, she was granted bail and the trial commenced.
But, during trial, Justice Solebo recused herself from hearing the case and it was sent back to the Chief Judge who subsequently assigned it to Justice Taiwo.
Oreagba was re-arraigned on the two counts and the trial commenced before Justice Taiwo in October 2022.
The prosecution called five witnesses and tendered the audio recording where the defendant was heard bragging that she could get her clients a reprieve by giving EFCC officers, Sini Oma John, Femi Olukinni, and their team part of the N4,000,000 to influence the said officers.
During the trial, Umoh narrated how Oreagba convinced him to part with the money. He said she never issued a receipt.
Umoh who testified as Prosecution Witness (PW) 2 testified that the money the defendant allegedly demanded from him was not her professional fees, but the money she claimed would be given to EFCC officers.
Messrs John and Olukinni, whom Oreagba mentioned in the audio, also denied that they had any discussion with the lawyer about a reprieve for Uka.
They also insisted that they did not receive any money from her, contrary to Oreagba’s comments in the audio recording. Oreagba testified alone.
At the close of the prosecution’s case, the defence led by Mahmood Adesina (SAN), entered a “no case” submission, arguing that the money was Oreagba’s professional fees.
In her judgment, Justice Taiwo observed that Oreagba did not challenge the content of the voice recording.
She sentenced her to two years imprisonment for the offence of corrupt demand by a person.
However, noting that the convict had restituted the N4 million to her victim, the judge gave her an option of a N500,000 fine.
The judge condemned the convict’s boast that she could influence law enforcement officers and that she could influence the assignment of cases to judges in the Lagos State Judiciary.
KanyiDaily recalls that Naira Marley was also arrested and charged to court by the EFCC on an 11 count charge of advance fee fraud popularly called ‘yahoo yahoo’.