An application challenging the jurisdiction of Justice Hakeem Oshodi to hear the case of alleged bribery against a suspended judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia and a Senior Advocate Of Nigeria, Godwin Obla, stalled proceedings on Monday, at the Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja.
When the case was called, a new counsel, Mr Robert Clarke (SAN), announced appearance for Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia. He led another Senior Advocate, Wale Akoni, who had been in the matter from the beginning.
The judge noted that though the application was not ripe for hearing as the prosecution counsel was yet to reply, he would have to adjourn to hear it.
He also rejected a move by Mr Clarke to temporarily withdraw the application so that an earlier application seeking permission for Mrs Ajumogobia to travel abroad for medical treatment could be heard.
Justice Oshodi subsequently fixed hearing of the application for April 28.
The absence of the EFCC Prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, on Thursday stalled the trial of a suspended Federal High Court Judge, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Godwin Obla.
Justice Hakeem Oshodi of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, had to adjourn until April 10 for hearing of the pending applications.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia and Mr Obla on a 30-count charge of conspiracy to pervert justice by allegedly giving and receiving a bribe of five million Naira.
The anti-graft agency had also alleged that about $793,800 passed through the judge’s domiciliary accounts between 2012 and 2015, and that she allegedly used the money to buy a house in London.
Five of the charges were centred on an alleged five million Naira bribe given to Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia by the senior advocate, while the remaining 26 charges were on the huge amounts that passed through her accounts and her alleged inability to explain her source of wealth.
The other charges filed against the judge border on forgery, lying, unlawful enrichment and other related offences.
Both have pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has charged a Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Godwin Obla, with alleged bribery.
They were charged at a Lagos High Court in Ikeja, the city’s capital, on a 30-count, five of which border on an alleged five million bribe given to the judge by the SAN.
According to the anti-graft agency, the alleged bribe was offered when the judge was presiding over one of Mr Obla’s cases.
The remaining 25 charges are on the huge sums of money which passed through the accounts of the judge and her alleged inability to explain the source of the money which is more than her lawful income as a public official.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to all the charges and the defence team applied for their bail on self-recognisance or on liberal terms.
The EFCC has, however, contended that the defendants had tried to interfere with investigation and witnesses, urging the court to consider that in exercising its discretion on whether or not to grant bail
Channels Television’s judiciary correspondent, Shola Soyele, who is covering the proceedings, reports that Justice Hakeem Oshodi has stepped down the case for now to consider his ruling on the bail applications.
The defendants are to deposit their travel passports with the Chief Registrar of the Lagos High Court within seven days otherwise the bail will be revoked.
They are also to deposit 20 million Naira with the Chief Registrar of the Lagos High Court within seven days failing which the bail will be revoked.