As the trial of a Federal High Court judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola continued on Wednesday, the third of the 14 witnesses to testify against the defendants said she never received nor laundered gratification for the embattled judge.
The federal government arraigned Justice Ademola before an Abuja Federal High Court on the allegation that he received gratification from Joe Agi (SAN), who also is a co-defendant in the suit, through his wife, Olabowale Ademola.
Mrs. Ojima Etuh, led in evidence by the Federal Government’s counsel, Barrister Segun Jegede as the third prosecution witness explained that apart from her official duties of research, offering legal opinion as well as taking record of court proceedings, that she also does some other unofficial works in Justice Ademola’s court.
She listed some of the unofficial works to include paying for flight tickets from Abuja to Lagos, paying for DSTV subscription, helping him withdraw money and paying in some money as well.
Etuh however explained under cross-examination by Ademola’s counsel, Onyechi Ikpeazu, that she has at no time “received gratification for him and never laundered gratification for him”.
On what she knew about Justice Ademola and Agi, Etuh said she came to know Agi in Justice Ademola’s court.
She said, “I know him as the personal lawyer of Justice Ademola. I remember when the judge went to NJC (National Judicial Council) he went with Joe Agi as his lawyer. I recalled hearing him on two occasions telling counsels that Joe Agi was going to appear in that particular case and that Joe Agi is his lawyer and friend and that if any counsel is not comfortable with that, such lawyer can apply that the case be taken from his court and assigned to another court.”
Under cross-examination by Agi’s counsel, Barrister Jeph Njikonye, Etuh told the court that the wife of one Sani Shuaibu Teidi, who was involved in a criminal case that was before Justice Ademola, was the one who petitioned and took the judge and Joe Agi to the NJC.
She added that the said petition was dismissed at the NJC.
Earlier as trial on the matter resumed on Wednesday the NJC tendered the petition it received against Justice Ademola from Mrs Fatima Shaibu, wife of Teidi who was a litigant in an FCT High Court
A copy of the petition was tendered by Mr. Eugene Odukwu, Director of Administration in the NJC, who also tendered a certified true copy of the proceeding of the Council arising from the petition and their report.
None of the defence counsel objected to the documents tendered.
Odukwu is fourth of the 14 prosecution witnesses Mr. Jegede, the prosecuting counsel, said he would call to testify against the accused.
Justice Ademola was among the seven justices the Department of State Services (DSS) raided their homes and arrested in October 2015. He is standing trial alongside his wife, Olabowale and Mr Agi on a 16-count charge of criminal conspiracy to receive gratification in various ways.
The offences contravened Section 8(1)(a) of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act, 2000.
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