Witness: I Don’t Know Why Customs CG Paid N12m into Justice Ajumogobia’s Account

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By Akinwale Akintunde

A customs officer, Mr. Musa Tahir, yesterday told an Ikeja High Court that he did not know the purpose for which the sum of N12 million was paid into the bank account of embattled judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia

Tahir, who is the ninth prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia and Mr. Godwin Obla for an alleged fraud, made this assertion while being cross-examined by Mr. Olawale Akoni (SAN) at the resumed hearing of the trial before Justice Hakeem Oshodi of an Ikeja High Court.

Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia and Obla, an EFCC prosecutor, are standing trial on a 30-count charge bordering on perversion of the course of justice, graft, unlawful enrichment, providing false information to EFCC and forgery.

The EFCC had 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, the anti-graft agency insisted that the defendants also allegedly committed an 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 reported to have been transferred to one Nigel & Colive Limited.

The commission maintained that Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia is the sole signatory to Nigel & Colive, 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 at Bourdillon Road, Ikoyi in Lagos, which statement was later found to be false.

The anti-graft agency insisted that the offences were contrary to the provisions of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2011, as well as the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004.

At yesterday’s proceedings, the witness told the court that though money was paid into Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia’s account but he does not know what the money was meant for.

“I have seen Hon. Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia but I have never met her one on one, I don’t know why the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC) said the money should be paid into my colleague Musa Omale’s account to be forwarded into the company account of the judge.

“I don’t have the paper in which the CGC wrote the directive, the paper was handed over to Omale who worked in my office.

 “I don’t know the source of the money, the CGC who gave the directive is still alive,” Tahir said.

Tahir, while giving his evidence-in-chief on May 26, had told the court that the NCS had paid N12 million sourced from 12 Area Commands into the bank account of the judge.

After Tahir was cross-examined, EFCC counsel, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo told the court that the prosecution had filed late, an additional list of witnesses and had just served the defence that morning.

 Oyedepo said the proof of evidence of their next witness, one Dr. Olumuyiwa Solanke was served late on the defence by their team due to a regrettable omission.

“Our next witness is one Dr. Olumuyiwa Solanke, whose proof of evidence was filed and served on the defence this morning.

“It is the constitutional right of the defence to adequately prepare for their defence.

“I have to apologise to the defence for filing Solanke’s proof of evidence just this morning, it was omitted from the file from where I made copies of the other witness statements which were earlier filed.

“I would not be opposing to their request for an adjournment,” he said.

Justice Oshodi adjourned the case until September 29 for continuation of trial.