Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will thursday re-arraign a former Federal High Court judge, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, before Justice Rilwan Aikawa at the Federal High Court in Lagos on fresh charges of money laundering and other offences, THISDAY gathered Wednesday.
Ofili-Ajumogobia was arrested by the officials of the anti-graft agency at the premises of the Ikeja High Court on Tuesday.
Though it was not clear how many count charges would be preferred against the former judge, sources at the anti-graft commission said it might not be up to the 30 filed against her at the Ikeja High Court.
Ofili-Ajumogobi was first arrested by the EFCC in 2016 and arraigned alongside a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Godwin Obla. They pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Delivering the judgment, which first set the former judge free, Justice Oshodi held that based on the judicial precedent set by Justice Nganjiwa vs FRN, the high court lacked jurisdiction to hear the suit as the EFCC “jumped the gun” in filing the first amended charge.
He said despite the EFCC being aware of the decision in Nganjiwa’s case regarding the proper procedure to discipline erring judicial officers, the body still went ahead with the case.
The EFCC had said it rearrested Ofili-Ajumogobia to enable it to prefer fresh criminal charges against her.
The commission said the development was in line with the decision of the Appeal Court, Lagos Division, in a case involving Justice Hyeladzira Nganjiwa, which ruled that a judge could not be prosecuted until they had either been dismissed or compulsorily retired by the National Judicial Council.
“Consequent upon the fact that the commission had presented Ofili-Ajumogobia before the NJC for disciplinary action and that the NJC had taken a position, the commission would now approach the court to prefer fresh charges her,” acting spokesman for the EFCC, Tony Orilade, said in a statement.