Legal Nigeria

N5m bribe: Court rejects Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia’s ex-parte application

*Refuses EFCC ex-prosecutor’s plea
By Onozure Dania
Lagos—A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday refused to grant an ex-parte application filed by Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, seeking to secure her release from the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia
In another development, an ex- prosecutor of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Godwin Obla (SAN) also urged the court to state that his continued detention by the commission is unlawful.
Obla is praying the court for an order directing the respondent to pay him the sum of N1billion, for his unlawful arrest and detention.
The EFCC had preferred a 30-count charge against Obla and the Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia over conspiracy to pervert justice for the sum of N5 million.
The anti- graft agency had detained the duo in its custody, pending the conclusion of its investigations.
While arguing his application, Obla’s counsel, Mr Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) informed the court that he had a written address in support of his application, as well as a further and better affidavit, and an affidavit of urgency all filed on November 14.
Justice Sule Hassan, while declining the request of Ofili-Ajumogobia, ordered the applicant to put the anti-graft agency on notice.
”The prayers being sought could not be heard by motion ex-parte,” he said.
Hearing was however fixed for November 28.
Ajumogobia’s lawyer, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN) had while arguing the application faulted the continued detention of the judge in the EFCC’s custody.
Onigbanjo argued that the commission has an option to charge Ajumogobia to court if it is sure she has committed any offence.
He said: “The EFCC has the option to charge her to court but it has not done so. She has also stated that she is ready to defend herself vigorously against any charge that may be slammed on her.
“She is ready to deposit her passport and abide by any other condition that the court may impose on her. There is no need under the law to continue to keep her in detention except to humiliate her because the offence is bailable”
The EFCC counsel Rotimi Oyedepo while responding argued that the steps taken by the commission were allowed by law in the dispensation of its duties. According to him, intelligence report showed that the applicant had a company known as Obla & Co Ltd, from which the sum of N5 million was transferred to Hon. Justice Ajumogobia via a company known as Nigel & Colive Ltd.
He also said that following intelligence reports, Ajumogobia was discovered to be sole signatory to Nigel & Colive Ltd, Justice Mohammed Idris, however adjourned the case to November 25 for judgement.