…Says FG failed to prove any of its allegations
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting at Maitama yesterday struck out the 18-count corruption charge the Federal Government preferred against Justice Adeniyi Ademola, his wife, Olabowale and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Joe Agi.
The court held that government failed to prove any of the allegations it levelled against the embattled Judge who hitherto served at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court.
Consequently, trial Justice Jude Okeke, in a ruling that lasted over five hours, terminated further hearing on the criminal case, even as he discharged and acquitted all the defendants.
Justice Okeke held that the federal government failed to establish that Ademola received gratifications from Agi to the tune of N38.5m, including a BMW Saloon 320i car gift.
Government had alleged that Justice Ademola got N30million from the senior lawyer through the account number 201/110160/1/1/0 of a new generation bank operated by his wife who was the former Head of Service in Lagos State.
It alleged that Agi, SAN, had on January 5, 2015, purchased the car from Coscharis Motors Ltd on January 5, 2015, and handed it over to Ademola’s son, Ademide.
More so, the prosecution, which closed its case against the defendants after it called a total of 19 witnesses, alleged that Justice Ademola was in possession of two prohibited firearms without valid licences.
However, all the defendants, through their respective lawyers, entered a no-case-submission, insisting that the federal government did not establish a prima-facie criminal case against them capable of persuading the court to compel them to enter their defence to the charge.
While upholding their no-case submission, Justice Okeke held that the prosecution could not link the N30million Mrs Ademola received from Agi, SAN, to any particular case being handled by her husband.
He also held that FG could not tender any evidence showing that the said N30m was at any time, transferred to any bank account that belongs to the 1st defendant (Ademola).
“None of the witnesses identified or tendered evidence to show that N30m was paid into any bank account of the 1st defendant either by the 2nd or the 3rd defendants”.
Though Justice Okeke took cognisance of a statement the 3rd defendant made before the DSS, where he admitted that it was two of his clients that directed him to pay the N30m to Mrs Ademola as gift during her daughters wedding in April, 2015.
The Judge, however, noted that the lead investigator, PW-16, in his evidence-in-chief, said he could not establish any link between the monetary gift and any case that was handled by the 1st defendant.