The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, told Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos that it was ready to present its first witness against Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia and Godwin Obla, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN.
It would be recalled that Ofili-Ajumogobia and Obla were re-arraigned on Wednesday, May 15, on an 18-count charge bordering on conspiracy, unlawful enrichment, retention of crime proceeds and money laundering.
EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren said in a statement that, “The defendants allegedly conspired on May 21, 2014 to indirectly conceal different sums of money in the Diamond Bank account of Nigel & Colive Ltd, a company being operated by Ofili-Ajumogobia”.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Hon. Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia and Godwin Obla, SAN, on or about the 21st day of May, 2014 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired to indirectly conceal the sum of N5,000,000.00 (Five Million Naira) in the Diamond Bank account of Nigel & Colive Ltd., which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful act to wit: unlawful enrichment.”
Another count reads: “That you, Hon. Justice Rita Ngozi Ofili-Ajumogobia, on or about the 11th day of July, 2014 in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, indirectly concealed the total sum of N12,000,000.00 (Twelve Million Naira) in the Diamond Bank account of Nigel and Colive Ltd., opened and operated by you, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms parts proceeds of unlawful act to wit: criminal breach of trust.”
However, the duo reportedly pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.
But at today’s proceedings, the defence counsel informed the court of letters written to the Chief Judge and Administrative Judge of the Federal High Court seeking a re-assignment of the case to another judge.
Counsel to the first defendant, Ferdinard Obi, SAN and P. Akwu, who held brief for Robert Clarke, SAN, counsel to the second defendant, also told the court that the defence had written letters to the Chief Judge and the Administrative Judge of Federal High Court seeking their express permission for the re-assignment of the case to another Judge.
They, therefore, urged the court to adjourn the trial pending the outcome of the letters.
Also, the prosecution counsel, Mohammad Buhari, who stood in for Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that he was aware of the letters written to the Chief Judge and the Administrative Judge of the Federal High Court.
He, however, informed the court that the prosecution was ready to proceed with the matter, adding, “ one of the prosecution witnesses is in court to give evidence.”
In his ruling, Justice Aikawa, after listening to the ensued legal fireworks, adjourned the case to February 6, 2020, pending the outcome of the letters written to the Chief Judge and Administrative Judge of the Federal High Court.