Court Grants Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia N10m Bail, Seizes Passport

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Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia

Davidson Iriekpen

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos Thursday granted a judge of the court, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, bail in the sum N10 million.

The court also ordered her to submit her passport to the deputy chief registrar of the court at or before 6 p.m. Thursday.

Ofili-Ajumogobia was arraigned before Justice Rilwan Aikawa, where she pleaded not guilty to 18 counts bordering on unlawful enrichment, taking property unlawfully, corruption, forgery and giving false information.

In a ruling granting her bail, Justice Aikawa said: “I take judicial notice of the Easter holiday and grant bail in the sum of N10 million, with one surety in like sum who must have landed property In Lagos.

“The surety must not be below Grade Level 16 in the federal or state civil service.

“The defendant must deposit her passport with the deputy chief registrar of the court at or before 6p.m. today (yesterday).

“The defendant shall endeavour to fulfill the conditions within 10 days or the bail will be revoked.

“She shall be released to her lead counsel, Wale Akoni (SAN), pending the fulfillment of the other conditions or the expiration of 10 days, whichever comes first.”

Aikawa also issued summons to compel Godwin Obla (SAN), a co-defendant with Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia, to appear before the court.

“For the second defendant, an order is hereby made for issuance of summons compelling Godwin Obla to appear before the court on the May 15, for the purpose of trial.”

Earlier, lead EFCC counsel, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, had informed the court of a pending charge against the defendants, and called the attention of the judge to Obla’s absence.

He told the court that every attempt made to inform Obla of the pending charge proved abortive.

Oyedepo, however, urged the court to take the plea of the former judge and give an order to compel Obla to appear before the court on the next adjourned date.

Ofili-Ajumogobia’s counsel, Akoni, had made an oral application for her bail.

He asked the court to take judicial notice of the fact that she was a judicial officer, and admit her to bail on self-recognisance.

Objecting to Akoni’s request for bail, Oyedepo told the court to take further judicial notice that there was a decision of the National Judicial Council (NJC), which recommended her dismissal.

He said that considering the nature of the case, it would not be in the interest of justice for her to be granted bail on self-recognisance.

He, therefore, urged the court to deny her bail or attach conditions, which would compel her to be available for trial.

Aikawa adjourned the case until May 15 for trial.