Justice Hakeem Oshodi of a Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja on Thursday adjourned till April 10 for further hearing in the trial of embattled Judge, Justice Rita Ofili Ajumogobia and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Godwin Obla who are facing charges of giving and receiving gratification.
The Judge came to the decision at the instance of the defence counsels who asked for an adjournment due to the absence of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo who was said to be before the Court of Appeal.
Ajumogobia was charged to court on a 30 count bordering on bribery and also enriching herself as a public officer, charges which she told the court she was not guilty of.
Obla’s Counsel, Ifedayo Adedipe SAN, expressed disappointment in the absence of the EFCC prosecutor, adding that the defence was not served with the letter explaining his absence.
“My Lord, we came here this morning to be confronted with a letter from the prosecution, stating that he could not be present in court because he is presently before the Court of Appeal. I am surprised that the prosecution did not deem it fit to serve the defence with a copy of the letter,” Adedipe noted.
“There are somethings I would like to say, but I would reserve my comments until the prosecution is present in court at the next adjourned date,”Adedipe said. Adding that they had two urgent and pending applications that were ripe for hearing.
Ajumogobia’s Counsel, Olawale Akoni also aligned himself with the 2nd defendant’s counsel, while also asking for a short adjournment.
Consequently, Justice Oshodi adjourned the matter till April 10 for hearing of the pending applications.
At the last proceedings, a witness of the EFCC told the court that the Delta State Government issued a cheque in favour of Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia.
Uchenna Okaranwolu, who was a relationship officer with Access Bank, confirmed to the court that Delta State government paid the sum of N24m to the salary account of the embattled judge.
Okaranwolu who was also the account officer of the judge told the court that justice Ofili-Ajumogobia maintained a USD account with the bank and he further explained how he used to deposit cash or cheque on her behalf.
Okaranwolu further explained to the court how the sum of over $650,000 was paid into the judges’ account for the period of 7-years.
Ajumogobia was accused by the EFCC of receiving a total of $793, 800 in several trenches from different sources between 2012 and 2015.
The judge was further accused of giving false information to EFCC operatives by claiming to be on admission at an hospital in Lagos which was found out to be false, an offence contrary to section 39 (2)a of the EFCC Establishment Act.
Obla, a former EFCC prosecutor was accused of offering a N5 million bribe to Ajumogobia.
The anti-graft agency also accused Ajumogobia of living above her means as a public officer.