Obla Absent As EFCC Re-arraigns Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia
Posted: 19/Apr/2019

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Thursday re-arraigned Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia before the Federal High Court in Lagos on 18 counts bordering on unlawful enrichment and money laundering.
The Thursday fresh arraignment before Justice Rilwan Aikawa came two days after Justice Hakeem Oshodi of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja struck out the 30 counts, bordering on the same offences which the EFCC filed against the judge in 2016.
Justice Oshodi struck out the 30 counts against Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia and her co-accused, Chief Godwin Obla (SAN), following an application by the EFCC for the withdrawal of the charges.
The EFCC said it withdrew the 30 counts in order to comply with the Court of Appeal’s decision in Justice Nganjiwa’s case that a serving judge could not be prosecuted except he or she had first been investigated, found guilty and sanctioned by the National Judicial Council.
After filing the earlier 30 counts before Justice Oshodi, the EFCC later filed a petition against Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia before the NJC.
Upon considering the petition, the NJC found her guilty and recommended her to President Muhammadu Buhari for dismissal from the Federal High Court bench.
The EFCC said the NJC’s decision paved the way to prosecute her in line with the appellate court’s decision in Nganjiwa’s case.
When the fresh 18 charges were read to her on Thursday, Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia pleaded not guilty.
Following an application by her lawyer, Mr Wale Akoni (SAN), Justice Aikawa admitted her to bail in the sum of N10m with one surety in like sum.
The judge said the surety must be a civil servant not below Grade Level 16 in the federal or state civil service or a resident of Lagos who has a landed property within the court’s jurisdiction with evidence to prove same.
Justice Aikawa ordered the defendant to submit her passport to the court pending the determination of the charge.
Pending the fulfilment of the bail conditions, the court released Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia to her lawyer.
Earlier, the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, called the court’s attention to the absence of the second defendant, Obla, in court for the Thursday’s arraignment.
He said, “Upon the filing of the charge, I personally called Chief Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), counsel representing the second defendant, to inform him that we could not reach Mr Obla.
“The commission also took steps to contact him and we discovered that he had switched off his phone.”
Oyedepo later urged the court to order Obla’s appearance on the next adjourned date to take his plea.
While adjourning the case till May 15, Justice Aikawa ordered the issuance of a summons on Obla to appear for his arraignment.
In the 18 counts, the EFCC alleged, among others, that Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia and Obla conspired to “indirectly conceal a sum of N5m in the Diamond Bank account of Nigel & Colive Limited, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit: unlawful enrichment, contrary to sections 18 (a) and 15(2)(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011.”
The prosecution said the accused committed the offence on May 21, 2014 and were liable to be punished under Section 15(3) of the same Act.