By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA — The Federal Government, yesterday, notified an Abuja High Court at Maitama of its intention to amend the 11-count criminal charge it preferred against Justice Ademola Adeniyi of the Federal High Court, Abuja and his wife, Olabowale.
Government lawyer, Mr. Segun Jegede, told the court that the charge would be amended to include Mr. Joe Agi, SAN, as the third defendant in the case.
Agi was alleged to have, on different dates, offered gratifications to Justice Ademola, including a car gift worth N8.5 million.
Federal Government told the court that Justice Ademola and his wife conspired and also received N30 million gratification from Mr. Agi, SAN, and Associates between March 11 and March 26, 2015.
Ademola was among the seven court judges arrested after a “sting operation” by the Department of State Service, DSS, between October 8 and 9, 2016.
The defendants were arraigned on December 13 and subsequently granted bail to the tune of N50m each.
Defendants seek accelerated trial
Meantime, the defendants have urged the court to abridge their trial date.
The defendants had in applications through their lead counsel, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN and Chief Roberts Clarke, SAN, prayed the trial court to accelerate their trial.
Trial judge, Justice Jude Okeke, had originally adjourned till January 18 for government to open its case against the defendants by calling its witnesses and adducing evidence against them.
However, the defendants, said they would prefer an abridgement of the time to enable an expeditions disposal of the matter.
They predicated the application on the provision of section 396 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015.
Their application was not opposed by the prosecution counsel.
Consequently, Justice Okeke abridged the time to January 11 for possible re-arraignment of the defendants on an amended charge, even as he adjourned till January 16 for commencement of trial.