- Defendants granted bail
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) monday arraigned a Federal High Court judge, Justice Rita Ngozi Ofili-Ajumogobia and the commission’s prosecutor, Mr. Godwin Obla (SAN), before an Ikeja High Court.
The duo were arraigned before Justice Olatunde Oshodi on a 30-count charge, bordering on perversion of the course of justice, graft, unlawful enrichment, providing false information to EFCC and forgery.
They however pleaded not guilty to all charges and were granted bail on personal recognition as prayed by their counsel, Mr. Wale Akoni (SAN) for Ofili-Ajumogobia and Mr. Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) for Obla, despite stiff opposition by the prosecution led by Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo on the grounds that they might interfere with investigation and prosecution witnesses.
The judge also ordered the defendants to deposit all their travelling documents and the sum of N20 million each with the court registrar within seven days, failure of which their bail would be revoked.
According to the charge sheet, five of the charges which directly concerned Obla are centred on an alleged N5 million bribe given to the judge by the senior advocate while the remaining 25 charges are on the huge amounts that passed through the accounts of Ofili-Ajumogobia and her alleged inability to explain her source of wealth.
The EFCC alleged that about $793,800 passed through the judge’s domiciliary accounts between 2012 and 2015.
The judge allegedly used the money to buy a house in London.
In the charge with suit No: LD/367/C/16, the anti-graft agency insisted that the defendants allegedly committed the offence on May 24, 2015, when they conspired to pervert the course of justice with the sum of N5 million
The said sum according to the EFCC was said to have been transferred to one Nigel & Colive Ltd, in relation to a charge number FHC/L/C/482/10.
The commission maintained that Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia is the sole signatory to Nigel & Colive Ltd, adding that both defendants conspired to pervert the course of justice in contravention of the provisions of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2011.
The EFCC alleged that the N5 million paid by Obla through his company’s account was to restrain a public officer from acting in exercise of her official duties.
Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia was equally alleged to have made a false statement to the EFCC that she was on admission at one Gold Cross Hospital, located at Bourdillon, Ikoyi, which statement was found to be false.
The anti-graft agency insisted that the offences are contrary to the provisions of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2011 as well as the EFCC (establishment) Act, 2004.
Meanwhile, trial commenced immediately with Ademola Oshodi, a staff of Diamond Bank Plc as the 1st prosecution witness.
The matter was adjourned till January 9, 2017 for continuation of trial.