Court Varies Obla, Ofili-Ajumogobia’s Bail Terms

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Akinwale Akintunde
Justice Hakeem Oshodi of an Ikeja High Court yesterday varied the bail conditions of Justice Rita Ngozi Ofili-Ajumogobia of the Federal High Court and Mr. Godwin Obla (SAN), a prosecutor with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The duo were arraigned by the commission on November 28, 2016 before Justice Oshodi on a 30-count charge bordering on perversion of the course of justice, graft, unlawful enrichment, providing false information to the EFCC and forgery.

They, however, pleaded not guilty to all the charges and were granted bail on self-recognisance as prayed by their counsel, Mr. Wale Akoni (SAN) for Ofili-Ajumogobia and Mr. Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), 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 Chief Registrar of the High Court within seven days, failure of which their bail would be revoked.
But the defendants filed  separate applications at the court, seeking that their bail conditions be varied.

Specifically, the first defendant, Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia, prayed the court to vary the N20 million bail condition because she cannot afford such amount since EFCC had closed all her bank accounts and she had no access to such money.

She also said the anti-graft agency was with all her travel documents, which the court corrected that they were with the court and no longer with the EFCC.
She, however, prayed the court to enter into N20 million bond as against the earlier N20 million cash deposit.

The 2nd defendant also made similar appeal on the grounds that the cumulative monetary value of the charge imposed on him was N5 million and requested for executive bail bond or insurance bond.

Ruling on the applications, Justice Oshodi granted the defendants’ prayer to enter into bond with the Chief Registrar of Lagos State in the sum of N20 million each within seven days and also depose to an affidavit of means to support same.

According to the charge sheet, four 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.