The twelfth prosecution witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Abudullahi Lawal, has told the court that Mr. Omole Musa, an assistant comptroller at the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) paid the sum of N12 million into Justice Ngozi Ofili-Ajumogobia’s account in June of 2014.
Mr. Lawal said this today, before Justice Hakeem Oshodi, at the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja, while giving a report of EFCC’s investigations on the charge of unlawful gratification preferred against the Federal High court judge.
He said the money was paid in trenches of N4 million, N3 million, and N5 million but he did not establish what the money was meant for.
Prior to the mention of the customs official, Mr. Lawal, who is also an investigation officer at the commission, said that it was discovered during the course of the investigation that the sum of N8 million was paid into Justice Ajumogobia’s account by one Haruna Ibrahim and one Tola.
He added that the embattled judge told investigators that the money was for sales of her lands in Abeokuta but that investigation revealed that Haruna was a bureau de change operator in Lagos while Tola was one of the building contractors who worked on her apartment in Park View Estate.
He said: “During the course of the investigation, we discovered that in February 2015, the sum of 8 million was paid into her Lordship’s account and she was confronted about the payment. She mentioned that the money was for sales of her land at Abeokuta."
“She said two people- Haruna Ibrahim and one Tola… Our investigation revealed that Haruna is a bureau de change official in Lagos and no transaction happened whereas, Tola was a building contractor. He took part in the building of her property at Park View estate and there was no form of land transaction between them."
“The payment of 8 million was done by one Grand B Limited. There was no business transaction between Grand B and Nigel and Colive Nigeria Limited”.
However, the prosecution witness could not continue the line of testimony as Justice Ajumogobia’s lawyer raised an objection to the prosecutor’s line of questioning.
The presiding judge cautioned the prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, to restrict his question only to the charge before the court.
Mr. Oyedepo, then informed the judge that he intends to amend the charge to reflect what the witness is giving evidence on.
Justice Oshodi disagreed, stating that he should have amended the charge earlier.
Thereafter, Mr. Oydepo sought the leave of the court to play a conversation between the prosecution witness and Justice Ajumogobia.
In the telephone conversation which was allegedly recorded during the course of investigation has the embattled judge telling the EFCC operative that she was sick and on admission at Gold Cross Hospital in Bourdilon.
But, the line went off when the operative told Justice Ajumogobia that he was in front of the hospital and that she was never on admissions.
The case was subsequently adjourned till February 23, 2018, for the continuation of trial.
Mr. Godwin Obla was charged alongside the judge for offering gratification of N5 million to Mrs. Ofili-Ajumogobia while the latter was serving as a judge.
Mrs. Ofili-Ajumogobia is charged with a 26-count of unlawful enrichment, taking property by a public officer, corruption, forgery, and giving false information to an official of the EFCC.