A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has granted leave to a Federal High Court judge, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia and Chief Godwin Obla travel abroad for medical treatment. Both Justice Ajumogobia and Chief Obla are facing corruption charges of giving and receiving bribe brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before Justice Hakeem Oshodi.
While Ajumogobia is travelling to New York, Obla is heading for Houston, Texas. Ajumogobia had through her counsel, Olawale Akoni (SAN) sought the leave of the court to travel for urgent medical attention in Morris Height Center, Bronx New York.
In a 17 paragraph affidavit in support of her request, Akoni said Ajumogobia is suffering from high blood pressure, palpitations, and stress related issues. However EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, opposed the application. Oyedepo contended that if Ajumogobia is granted leave to travel, she might jump bail and not come back to face her trial. He argued that Ajumogobia’s request to travel for thirty days was a ploy to stall the trial.
Ruling on the application, Justice Oshodi said that the court has judicial discretion to rule on the application.
“The prosecution failed to give evidence why the applicant cannot seek medical attention for her sickness outside Nigeria and how the prosecution came to decision that defendant would jump bail is best known to him.
“I believe that the first defendant as a Federal High Court Judge has a lot to lose if she considers the idea of jumping bail”, he held.
Justice Oshodi ordered the Chief Registrar to release the international passport of Ajumogobia to enable her travel abroad between June 7 and June 13, 2017.
” The defendant must return the passport to the Chief Registrar on or before July 1, 2017″, Justice Oshodi ruled.
The judge also granted the second defendant, Godwin Obla (SAN) leave to also travel to Houston, Texas in the US for medical treatment.
“The 2nd defendant is also granted leave to travel for medical treatment and must also return his passport to the Chief Registrar on July 4,” the Judge ruled.
After the ruling, the EFCC called its tenth witness, a legal practitioner, Charles Musa who told the court Ajumogobia who was his classmate and friend, called him to help draw up a deed of agreement. “I sent her a mail about the terms of agreement and she did not get back to me again,” he said.
Oyedepo however tendered deed of agreement between Ajumogobia’s company, Nigel and Colive and another company, County and City Bricks, purportedly drawn by the witness. Musa however denied signing or drafting the deed of agreement between the two companies.
Justice Oshodi thereafter adjourned the matter till July 7 for continuation of trial.
Ajumogobia who is standing trial alongside senior lawyer Godwin Obla is accused by the EFCC of receiving a total of $793, 800 in several tranches from different sources between 2012 and 2015.
The judge was further accused of giving false information to EFCC operatives by claiming to be on admission in Lagos which was found out to be false, an offence contrary to section 39 (2)a of the EFCC Establishment Act.
02 June, 2017