Witness admits Justice Ademola has several sources of legitimate income
Prosecutor withdraws from Ngwuta’s trial
The trial of Justice Adeniyi Ademola and two others continued yesterday with another prosecution witness confirming to the court that the Federal High Court Judge has several other means on earning legitimate income aside government’s provisions.
Awoyemi Kazeem Adisa, an accountant with the Federal High Court had, in his evidence in-chief before Justice Jude Okeke, stated that Justice Ademola came into the pay list of the court in 2004 and that his salary comes right from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
He later read from a document, which was tendered as an exhibit, the annual salary of the judge and some of his official allowances, including furniture, car, leave as well as medical, which entitles him for an overseas medical checks annually.
The witness gave instance of last year’s medical allowance, which was $6,300.
But under cross-examination led by the defense counsel, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), the witness however admitted that there were other sources of income available to the judge and which were not contained in the payment mandate from the court.
These, he admitted, include proceeds from shares, properties and inheritance from father and grand-father. They also include estacodes from foreign trainings and conferences.
He further admitted that though estacodes are usually paid in dollars, nothing however stops one from converting to a currency of choice.
The court has adjourned till today for continuation of trial.
In another development, the lawyer engaged by the Federal Government from the International Criminal Court to conduct the prosecution of Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, Mr. Charles Adeogun-Philips has withdrawn his service as counsel in the trial.
Adeogun-Philips, who was engaged because of his vast experience in the prosecution of high profile corruption cases, unceremoniously announced his withdrawal yesterday without giving reasons for his action.
Shortly after court resumed sitting, the counsel announced before told Justice Tsoho that he was withdrawing his appearance in the matter for his client.
Justice Tsoho commended the lawyer for the courtesy to physically come before the court to announce his withdrawal.
Afterwards, a new counsel from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, Mrs. Hajara Yusuf, quickly announced her appearance as replacement for the ICC Lawyer to lead the prosecution.
The prosecution witness, Chukwuebuka Linus, during cross-examination led by the defence counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), told the court that he carried out legitimate jobs for the judge.
He also stated that he would not have accepted payment for his services if he had suspected the money were proceeds of crime, adding that he went ahead with the job after the defendant explained the sources of his money.
When asked if he reported Ngwuta to the police or any security agency, he answered in the negative.
The matter has been adjourned till February 13.