Lawyer jailed for obtaining N4m to secure client’s release from EFCC custoďy

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Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos State, has convicted and sentenced a legal practitioner, Taiwo Oreagba, to two years imprisonment for obtaining the sum of N4 million from a client to secure the release of a suspect from the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

She was jailed on Thursday, August 25, 2022 after standing trial on two-count charges bordering on corrupt demand and obtaining money under false pretences.

The charge reads: “ That you, Taiwo Oreagba, on or about the 2nd of March, 2020 in Lagos State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, whilst acting as counsel to one Kelechi Uka, asked for and received the sum of N4,000,000.00 (Four Million Naira) through your business name account known as Bobcom Enterprises from one Henry George Umoh on the understanding that the money was meant to influence the officers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, in order to secure the release of the said Kelechi Uka from custody and committed an offence of Corrupt demand by person contrary to Section 10(a) (i)(li) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.”

She pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, thereby leading to her full trial.

During the trial, the prosecution counsel, G.C. Akaogu, called five witnesses, including one Henry Umoh, an uncle to Uka.

Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Umoh narrated to the court how the convict convinced him to part with the said amount of money without issuing him a receipt.

In his further testimony, Umoh told the court that the convict said the money was not meant for her. He also told the court that the convict promised to give him a report of the investigation exonerating Uka.

The prosecution counsel also tendered an audio recording in evidence to prove his case against the convict. In the recording, Oreagba was heard telling her client that she could guarantee his “soft landing” by giving the EFCC officials the sum of N4m.

Delivering judgement, Justice Taiwo found Oreagba guilty of the offence and sentenced her to two years imprisonment, with an option of fine in the sum of N500,000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira).

Oreagba was, however, discharged on count two of obtaining money by false pretence.

Justice Taiwo also condemned the convict’s conduct for bragging that she could influence officials of the EFCC as well as assignment of cases to judges in the Lagos State Judiciary.

Oreagba’s journey to the Correctional Centre began when she was arrested by operatives of the Lagos Zonal Command of the EFCC and arraigned in November, 2020 on two-count charges bordering on corrupt demand and obtaining by false pretence to the tune of N4 million.
She fraudulently collected the money claiming that she would use it to secure the release of her client from EFCC’s custody.

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