Judge jails Naira Marley’s former lawyer over N4m bribe

A lawyer named Taiwo Oreagba was given a two-year prison term on Thursday by a Special Offenses Court in Ikeja, Lagos, for requesting an N4 million bribe.

However, Oluwatoyin Taiwo, the court, dismissed the attorney on a second count of receiving funds under false pretenses.

After a two-year trial, Ms. Oreagba, who had defended the musician Naira Marley, was found guilty.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) first brought her before Justice Sherifat Solebo of the Special Offenses Court in Ikeja on November 12, 2020.

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, Ms Oreagba, a counsel to Kelechi Uka – who was under investigation by the EFCC – was alleged to have collected the N4 million from one Henry Umoh supposedly to influence EFCC agents to secure Mr Uka’s release.

Mr Uka is standing trial on offences relating to stealing at the Lagos State High Court.

Ms 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 for reassignment.

The case was then assigned to Justice Taiwo.

Mr 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, Mr Umoh narrated how Ms Oreagba convinced him to part with the money. He said she never issued a receipt.

Mr 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 Ms Oreagba mentioned in the audio, also denied that they had any discussion with the lawyer about a reprieve for Mr Uka.

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