Unaccountable enrichment: I’ve already been tried, Ofili-Ajumogobia tells court
Unaccountable enrichment: I’ve already been tried, Ofili-Ajumogobia tells court
Unaccountable enrichment: I’ve already been tried, Ofili-Ajumogobia tells court
Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumobia, who was charged with unlawful enrichment and money laundering, insisted on Thursday that she had already been tried and the charges against her struck out.

She contended that the Federal High Court in Lagos lacked jurisdiction to entertain the charges against her, which the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja had on April 16 struck out.

Her lawyer, Chief Robert Clarke (SAN), said she had been prosecuted for about two and a half years before Ikeja High Court, during which the prosecution called 18 witnesses.

The SAN argued that the substance of the charges had already been decided before Justice Hakeem Oshodi struck them out based on the Court of Appeal decision in Nganjiwa’s case that a serving judge could not be prosecuted unless first investigated and sanctioned by the National Judicial Council.

But the prosecuting counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, argued that the appeal court decision in Nganjiwa’s case did not cover Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia because she had already been dismissed by President Muhammadu Buhari based on the recommendation of the NJC.

Oyedepo presented to the court a letter from the Presidency stating that Buhari had approved Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia’s dismissal from the Federal High Court bench.

“We have provided evidence that she has been dismissed,” the EFCC lawyer said.

But Clarke argued that the letter from the Presidency was not enough to conclude that Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia had been dismissed.

He said since the dismissal was not documented in any gazette, it remained unofficial.

 “There was no official communication with respect to the removal of the judge. In the absence of such, she remains a judge.

“They are saying that a letter from the Presidency serves the purpose of the gazette.

“We want to provide cases to help the court decide whether a mere letter can satisfy the legal requirement that the appointment or removal of a judge must be gazetted,” Clarke contended.

On his own part, Chief Godwin Obla (SAN), who was charged along with Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia, also described the amended charges against him as an abuse of court processes.

Obla’s lawyer, Ferdinand Orbih (SAN), said, “This application is peculiar. We’re saying that the use of the process of court is abusive and oppressive having regard to the appeal.”

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