The substantive hearing of the case against judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, his wife and Head of Service of Lagos State, Adebukola and Joe Agi SAN begins today.
The prosecuting Federal Government had re-arraigned Ademola and wife, who are first and second defendants in the matter, last Wednesday after the prosecution had joined a third defendant, Agi in the case before a high court of the Federal Capital Territory presided over by Justice Jude Okeke on similar charges.
While the first and second defendants had been earlier arraigned on an 11-count charge last December, additional five charges were added upon re-arraignment with Agi on allegations bordering on conspiracy to receive gratification, possession of fire arms, among others, affecting the amendment of the charge to a 16-count.
Joe Agi was alleged to have offered the said gratification, including a BMW saloon car valued at N8.5 million to Justice Ademola between March 11 and 16 through the judge’s son, Ademide Ademola.
The judge himself was alleged to have transferred the sum of N175 million in two tranches of N85 million and N90 million from a GTBank account to one Franco Dan Parker. The sums were said to form proceeds of an unlawful act contrary to Section 24 of the ICPC Act.
The prosecution also alleged that Justice Ademola attempted to obtain a sum of N25 million gratification from one Sani Suaibu Teidi, as a motive for showing favour in the exercise of his judicial functions contrary to Section 115 (b) of the Penal Code.Justice Ademola was one of the judges whose homes were raided in a sting operation by the Department of State Services (DSS) in October 2016.Also contained in the charge against Ademola was an allegation of illegal possession of firearms.
The judge was alleged to be in illegal possession of a pump action rifle, AVAR Magnum 6284 and 35 rounds of live ammunition. At the re-arraignment on January 11, 2017 the judge, his wife and the third defendant, Joe Agi, all denied the charges when it was read to them. Counsel to the first and second defendant, Solo Akuma, prayed the court to grant them bail with the same conditions to his clients since it has been fulfilled.
He said that the court had granted bail to both first and second defendants bail in the sum of N50 million and on self-recognition with the deposit of their international passports.
Counsel to the third defendant, Jeph Njikonye, on his part moved a motion on notice for bail, which is an application dated and filed on January 10, 2017 served on the complainant the day before.
Prosecution Counsel, Segun Jegede, though did not oppose the request of counsel to the first and second defendants, he, however, urged the court to under Section 25 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), impose on the third defendant, conditions that will ensure his attendance in trial.
He also urged that the court ask the third defendant deposit his international passport and other travel documents while the judge exercises his discretion under Section 165 of ACJA.
In his ruling, the Justice Okeke granted the third defendant bail in the sum of N50m while he is required to also deposit his international passport. The substantive hearing, which begins today, continues tomorrow January 17, 18 and Thursday.
16 January 2017