EFCC Re-arraigns Ajumogobia, Obla for Alleged Unlawful Enrichment

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Ajumogobia and Obla
Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia and Godwin Obla, SAN
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EFCC Re-arraigns Ajumogobia, Obla for Alleged Unlawful Enrichment

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday re-arraigned Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia and Chief Godwin Obla (SAN), for alleged unlawful enrichment and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Ajumogobia and Obla
Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia and Chief Godwin Obla, SAN

The re-arraignment before an Ikeja high court was sequel to amendment to charges preferred against them before Justice Hakeem Oshodi.

The new charge sheet against the defendants contained 31 counts as against the former charge of 30 counts when they were first arraigned in November 2016.

In the new charge, Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia was, among other things, accused of receiving a total of $793,800 in several tranches from different sources between 2012 and 2015 “so as to have a significant increase in your assets that you cannot reasonably explain the increase in relation to your lawful income.”

Obla, on his part, was accused of offering N5m as gratification to the judge so as to allegedly pervert the course of justice.

The offences were said to be contrary to sections 64(1), 82(a) and 69(1) (a) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State No. 11, 2011.

But the defendants pleaded not guilty to all the charges as they did earlier.

Meanwhile, the 12th prosecution witness, Abdullahi Lawal, an investigator, continued his testimony before the court on Friday.

Led in evidence by the prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, Lawal pointed out three deposits of N4million, N3million and N5million, made into the account of Nigel and Colive Nigeria Limited, a company allegedly belonging to Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia.

The deposits, he said, were made on July 11, 2014, by a Customs officer, Omali Musa.

According to him, when Musa was confronted, he told the anti-graft agency that he carried out the instruction of his superior, Musa Tahir, who, in turn, said the instruction to pay the money was from the former Comptroller General of Customs, Abdullahi Dikko.

Lawal said the finding was contrary to Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia’s claim that the N12million was proceeds of landed property bequeathed to her by her late mother.

He said, “The sum of N12million was not part of the lawful income of the first defendant.

“They were payments made by Omali Musa, a Customs officer. They were sums being paid by Customs officers into Musa’s account, which he later transferred into the account of the first defendant.”

Under cross-examination by Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia’s lawyer, Chief Robert Clarke (SAN), Lawal said he did not interview Dikko to find out the reason for the payment.

He, however, said, “Even though I did not see Mr. Dikko, I saw a written note given to Mr. Tahir by Mr. Dikko, containing the account number of Nigel and Colive, and says effect the payment.”

Lawal said he did not caution the judge when asked by the defence counsel if he cautioned the judge during the telephone conversation that whatever she has said would be used against her in court.

The witness said that no forensic expert was called to analyze the signature of one Charles Musa on a document alleged to have been forged by Ajumogobia.

Justice Oshodi has adjourned further proceedings in the matter till March 23, 2013.

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