The trial of Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, a Federal High Court judge and Godwin Obla, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, continued on Friday, May 26, 2017 before Justice O.H. Oshodi of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, with a prosecution witness, Anuli Okpala, a staff of First City Monument Bank, FCMB, revealing how the sum of N87 million was paid into Ofili-Ajumogobia’s account.
Ofili-Ajumogobia is standing trial alongside Obla on a 30-count charge bordering on an alleged perversion of the course of justice, unlawful enrichment and forgery.
The defendants allegedly committed the offence on May 21, 2015, when they conspired to pervert the course of justice with the sum of N5m.
At Friday’s hearing, Okpala, who was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court how the money was paid into Ofili-Ajumogobia’s FCMB account by a company named “Citi” through the order of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
However, while under cross-examination by the counsel to the first defendant, A.O. Akoni, SAN, Okpala told the court that she did not know the purpose for which the money was paid into Ofili-Ajumogobia’s account.
Another prosecution witness, Dr. Gregory Omoseru Ero, CEO, Arkling Oil and Gas Limited, told the court how the first defendant had begged him for N18 million in his office.
“I offered the sum of N18 million financial assistance to Justice Ofili- Ajumogobia. I obliged because she was an outsourced- secretary I trusted in one of my companies that deals in drilling products and drilling services. That was before she was appointed a Federal High Court judge.
“She told me in my office that she had a financial problem regarding the completion of her property transaction in the United Kingdom, which was a matter of urgency.”
Ero, an engineer, however, told the court that Ofili- Ajumogobia had refused to pay back the money since 2012.
“She has not been picking my calls since then, ” he added.
In his testimony, a third prosecution witness, PW3, Tauheed Audu Musa, a former Deputy Comptroller General of Customs, also told the court how the sum of N12,000,00 was allegedly paid into the first defendant’s account.
Musa told the court how he was allegedly ordered by his former boss, Dikko Inde, a former Comptroller General of Customs, to give a paper containing Ofili-Ajumogobia’s Diamond Bank account details to one Musa Omale, with a directive that the sum of N12 million that would be transferred to his ( Omale)’ account should be paid into Ofili-Ajumogobia’s account by him.
However, Akoni, counsel to the first defendant, told the court that the evidence given by the witness was not reflected in the charges before him and even the court.
Also, the prosecution counsel opposed the applications filed and served by counsels to the defendants seeking the order of the court to temporarily release the international passports of the defendants to enable them travel abroad for medicals.
Justice Oshodi, however, suspended proceedings when arguments came up between the defence counsels and prosecution counsel on the relevance and admissibility of the evidence given by third witness.
Consequently, Justice Oshodi adjourned to June 1, 2017 for ruling on the relevance and admissibility of the evidence given by the former Deputy Comptroller General of Customs and for continuation of trial.