N5m bribe: Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia slumps in court

A former judge of a federal high court, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogogia, yesterday slumped in court over alleged N5m bribe.

Justice Ajumogobia, who did not betray any emotion on entering the court in the morning slumped in the court, a few minutes before the commencement of proceedings in the alleged graft suit preferred against her by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at an Ikeja High Court

It was gathered that the  former judge was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance belonging to the Lagos State judiciary.

The development forced the trial judge, Justice Hakeem Oshodi, to adjourn court proceedings in the charge against her till January 26.

The adjournment was sequel to a request by her lead counsel, Mr. Robert Clarke, SAN.

As at last sitting, the court had fixed yesterday to hear the no case submission of Ajumogobia and Obla.

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Ofili-Ajumogobia is standing trial alongside Obla (SAN) on a 31-count charge bordering on an alleged perversion of the course of justice, unlawful enrichment and forgery proffered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Oshodi, while fixing the date to hear the no case application, had ordered counsel  to by the adjourned date, “tidy up” all applications to ensure that the court attends to them simultaneously, saving precious judicial time.

Earlier during proceedings, Mr Robert Clarke (SAN) defence counsel to Ajumogobia, had informed the court that he had filed a Motion on Notice dated October 23 challenging the jurisdiction and competency of the court to hear the case.

He, however, noted that he intended but was yet to file a no-case submission before the court.

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Mr Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), Obla’s defence counsel, in his submission, informed the court that he had filed a no-case submission dated September 14 but was yet to receive a response from the EFCC.

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Responding, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, the lead prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, admitted to receiving Adedipe’s no-case submission, but noted that he was waiting to receive a similar application from Clarke.

“I  await the first defendant’s counsel to approach me because it is not tidy for me to respond to both applications separately,” Oyedepo said.

The anti-graft agency had alleged that Ofili-Ajumogobia illegally received a sum of $793,800 in several tranches from different sources between 2012 and 2015.

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On his part, Obla (SAN) was alleged by the EFCC to have offered a sum of N5million as gratification to Ofili-Ajumogobia so as to pervert the course of justice.

The offences are contrary to Sections 64(1), 82(a) and 69(1) (a) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State No. 11, 2011

The National Judicial Council (NJC) had at its 87th meeting which was held on October 3, under the chairmanship of Justice Walter Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, recommended the dismissal of Ofili-Ajumogobia as a judge.

The recommendation for dismissal was  on the strength of petitions filed to the NJC containing allegations of corruption against her by Mr Ibrahim Magu, the Acting Chairman of the EFCC.

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