Abdullahi Lawal, a prosecution witness, in the ongoing trial of suspended judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia yesterday narrated how she lied about the source and the purpose of a payment of N8 million made into her company’s account.
Lawal, an investigating officer with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was testifying before Justice Hakeem Oshodi of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja.
Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia and a lawyer, Chief Godwin Obla (SAN), who was accused of bribing her with N5 million, were jointly charged with two counts of perverting the course of justice.
Obla is facing an additional two counts charge of offering gratification in the sum of N5m to Ofili-Ajumogobia, a public official while serving as a judge.
Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia is standing trial on 26-count charge bordering on unlawful enrichment, taking property by a public officer, corruption, forgery and giving false information to an official of the EFCC.
They both pleaded not guilty to the charge.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Friday, Lawal, while being led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, said that in the course of investigation, the EFCC discovered a payment of N8m into the account of Nigel and Colive Ltd., a company belonging to Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia.
The witness further stated, “She (Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia) was confronted about that payment where she mentioned that the money was from the sale of her land at Abeokuta. She said the land was sold to two people, she first mentioned one Haruna Abdullahi and later mentioned that the land was sold to one Tola.
“Our investigation revealed that Haruna was a Bureau De Change operator in Lagos here and there was no such transaction between the parties; whereas Tola was a building contractor; he was the contractor that handled the building of her residence at Parkview Estate and there was no form of land transaction between them.
“The payment of N8m was done by one Grand B Limited. There was no transaction between Grand B Ltd. and Nigel and Colive.”
Lawal, who is the 12th prosecution witness in the case, also testified that one Omali Musa, an Assistant Comptroller at the Nigeria Customs Service, paid N12m on July 11, 2014 into the account of Nigel and Colive Ltd.
According to him, the N12m was paid in three tranches of N4m, N3m and N5m on the same day.
In the course of Friday’s proceedings, the prosecution also attempted to establish that the judge lied about being hospitalised at Gold Cross Hospital, Bourdillon Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.
The prosecution played in the open court the audio recording of two telephone conversations between Lawal and Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia.
In the first, Lawal’s voice was heard asking Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia if she was still at the hospital, to which she responded, “Yes.”
But when Lawal asked: “Which ward?” the judge on what seemed to be a note of agitation or surprise in her voice, responded, “Are you here!” And as the investigator responded, “Yes, I am at the hospital”, there was no further response from the other end, even as the investigator kept saying, “Hello! Hello! Hello!”
When asked by the prosecutor what happened, Lawal said, “What happened was that Honourable Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia’s phone went off; I was calling and she was not responding.”
Lawal explained that his decision to call the judge on the telephone was because upon getting to the hospital he discovered that she was not there, contrary to what she had told the investigator during an earlier telephone conversation.
Examining Implementation Of Child Rights Convention
By November 20th this year, the convention on the rights of the child (CRC), will be 30 years since it...
Chronicling 8th Senate’s Efforts In Education Sector
As the current Senate winds down in a matter of days, BODE GBADEBO writes on the legislative interventions of the...
Awaiting S’Court Verdict On Zamfara APC
The long standing legal battle over the conduct of APC primaries or otherwise in Zamfara State will end tomorrow as...
Nigeria To Halt N360bn Capital Flight In Aviation Sector
A new internationally licensed Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) that will end over N360 billion capital flight has been launched...
We Must Organise Mining Sector For Optimal Results– Mayere
Lawal Mayere is a retired permanent secretary in Kaduna State.He served in the ministries of land, works, solid minerals ,...
Combating Desertification In Sahel, Horn Of Africa
CHIKA OKEKE examines attempts by governments and stakeholders in the African region to protect its landmass from mind boggling desertification....
NEWS18 hours ago
INEC Withdraws 2 Certificate Of Return In Kaduna
FOOTBALL19 hours ago
Borussia Dortmund Complete Signing Of Thorgan Hazard
AVIATION20 hours ago
Aviation Unions Shut Down NCAA Over New Organogram
NEWS17 hours ago
Zamfara Assembly Creates Additional Emirate Council
NEWS19 hours ago
Indonesia Post-Election Protests Leave 6 Dead
BUSINESS19 hours ago
Huawei Faces Break With Key Chip Maker
NEWS15 hours ago
Anxiety In Ogun As RCCG Raids, Dump Destitutes In Abeokuta
NEWS17 hours ago
Court To Arraign Alison-Madueke On October 3