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The former attorney for musician Naira Marley has been sentenced to prison.
The lawyer, identified as Taiwo Oreagba, was given a two-year prison sentence for accepting an N4 million bribe by Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Ikeja High Court in Lagos on Friday.
After a two-year trial, Justice Taiwo found Oreagba guilty. Oreagba previously defended “Am I a Yahoo boy?” singer Naira Marley in his ongoing alleged internet crime-related prosecution.
The judge observed that Oreagba did not controvert the content of a voice recording wherein she was heard bragging that she would use the N4m to bribe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) officials for a soft landing for her client.
The judge sentenced Oreagba to two years imprisonment for the offence of corrupt demand by a person.
However, noting that the convict had restituted the N4m to her victim, Justice Taiwo gave Oreagba an option of a N500,000 fine.
The judge discharged Oreagba on the second count of obtaìninng money by false pretence.
Justice Taiwo 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.
Oreagba was originally arraigned for the alleged offence by the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC) on November 12, 2020, before Justice Sherifat Solebo of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos.
She pleaded not guilty to a two-count charge bordering on alleged corrupt demand and obtaining the N4m by false pretence.
At that time, Oreagba counsel to one 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 day of March 2020 in Lagos, whilst acting as Umoh’s counsel.
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 for reassignment.
The case was then assigned 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 soft landing by giving EFCC officers, Sini Oma John, Femi Olukinni and their team part of the N4,000,000 to influence the said officers.
They said Kelechi Uka is being prosecuted by the EFCC at the Ikeja High Court.
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 money she purported would be given and was given to EFCC officers.
Sini Oma John and Femi Olukinni whom Oreagba mentioned in the audio, also denied that they had any discussion with Oreagba about a soft landing 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.