•  Amended charge to include SAN, Agi
    Accused judge seeks accelerated trial

Alex Enumah in Abuja

The federal government has revealed plans to join a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Joe Agi, in the trial of Justice Adeniyi Ademola and his wife, Olabowale, for corruption before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

Counsel to the federal government, Segun Jegede, who disclosed this yesterday at the resumption of trial, informed the court that it intends to amend the charges against the couple to include Agi as third defendant in the suit.
According to the prosecution, the application is seeking a situation where the defendants could be tried together in one suit.

Recall that the prosecution had on December 13, 2016, during hearing of the case sought to withdrew one of the two charges before the court on the grounds that the second charge dated December 1, 2016, and filed same day was more authoritative with evidences along with it.
Also in the charge, the federal government had alleged that the senior advocate had on several occasions offered various sums of money to the first defendant in form of gratification.
However, in a brief ruling, the trial judge, Justice Jude Okeke, following the agreement by parties in the matter, adjourned till tomorrow to enable the prosecution re-arraign the defendants.

Based on the ruling, Justice Ademola, wife and Agi would consequently be arraigned on an amended charge tomorrow.
The judge who had earlier granted Justice Ademola’s application for abridgment of time for accelerated hearing, also fixed January 16 to January 18 for trial to commence.
Justice Okeke also urged counsel in the matter to avail them of every situation that would ensure speedy trial of the matter.
Both Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) and Robert Clerke (SAN), counsel to the Ademolas, had in their different applications prayed the court for an accelerated hearing of the matter in order to prove the innocence of their clients.

The counsel disclosed that they had filed a motion dated December 16, 2016, for the abridgment of time for an accelerated hearing of the case.
They argued that this was in pursuant to the provisions of Section 396 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.
Counsel to the federal government, Jegede, did not object to the motion.
He, however, told the court that he would file an amended charge to bring in a third defendant, Agi.

At the last adjourned date, Justice Okeke had fixed January 18 for the commencement of trial of the Ademolas after they were granted bail in the sum of N50million each in self recognition.
In considering the application, Justice Okeke stated that the prosecution did not deny the administrative bail granted the defendants.

He also observed that the prosecution did not oppose the application, nor filed a counter-affidavit contravening the averments of the defendants in their applications.
The justice further held that by not filing a counter-affidavit, the prosecution has concluded its investigation of the matter.

While stating that the offence with which the defendants were charged are bailable, he held that though the requirement for the submission of passports and other travel documents were not required for the administrative bail, the court however cannot over-look it.
He therefore, granted them bail in self recognition in the sum of N50million each and ordered that their international passports and other travel documents be deposited with the court registrar.

Ademola and wife, Olabowale, were arraigned by the federal government on an 11-count charge of criminal conspiracy to receive gratification in various ways contrary to section 8(1)(a) of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and Other Related Offences Act 2000.
Justice Ademola was among the seven justices investigated after the sting operations carried out last October 8 and 9 by the Department of State Services (DSS).