An official of Diamond Bank Plc, Ademola Oshodi, narrated to a Lagos State High Court in Ikeja on Monday how he helped Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia wire thousands of United States of American dollars to a company named Silver Steps Incorporated in the United Kingdom.
The banker said he picked up a cash of $120,000 from the judge’s chambers on May 10, 2013, and assisted the judge to wire the money to the UK company in tranches of $10,000 over 12 days.
Asked why he split the transaction, Oshodi said it was because “the bank has a daily maximum deposit of $10,000,” adding that the bulk of the $120,000 was kept in the custody of Diamond Bank till May 30, 2013, when the last $10,000 was wired.
“I filled the tellers for the transactions on behalf of Honourable Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia. I wrote the name of Honourable Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia as the payee on the tellers,” the banker said.
The banker appeared on Monday to continue his testimony before Justice Hakeem Oshodi, where Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Godwin Obla, are being tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for alleged bribery and unlawful enrichment.
The judge and the SAN were arraigned on 30 counts on November 28, 2016.
The EFCC, in the charges, alleged that Obla, while appearing in a suit number FHC/L/C/482c/2010 before Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia, offered a gratification of N5m to the judge to allegedly induce the judge to refrain from acting in the exercise of her official duties as a public official.
Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia was also accused of receiving a total of $793,800 in several tranches from different sources between 2012 and 2015 “so as to have a significant increase in your assets that you cannot reasonably explain the increase in relation to your lawful income.”
The EFCC claimed that the judge and the SAN acted contrary to sections 64 (1) and 97 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, No. 11, 2011.
But they both pleaded not guilty to the offences after which Justice Oshodi granted them bail on self recognisance.
The trial continued on Monday despite a spirited effort by Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia’s counsel, Mr. Wale Akoni (SAN), to make Justice Oshodi halt the hearing.
The court admitted as exhibit in evidence against Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia, the witness’ extrajudicial statement made to the EFCC.
Also admitted as exhibits were the statement of no fewer than five accounts (both naira and domiciliary) owned by Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia, including one in the name of her company, Nigel & Colive Limited.
The witness said, “Apart from the naira and dollar accounts, there is a corporate account named Nigel & Colive Ltd. with number 0036103685. The account was opened in September 2013. The address of Nigel & Colive is No 18 Lai Deinde Street, Fajuyi Estate.
“We made physical visitation to the address at 18 Lai Deinde Street and at the location, we found out that it was still under construction but because Honourable Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia is our customer and we knew that the property belonged to her, we proceeded to open the account,” the witness said.
The witness also narrated to the court how several thousands of dollars, apart from the $120,000, were allegedly transferred from Diamond Bank to Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia’s foreign bank account in the UK.
Further proceedings in the case have been adjourned till January 30, 2017.