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Ofili-Ajumogobia, Obla seek to extricate themselves from EFCC custody

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Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia

Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia

A Federal High Court, Lagos yesterday, refused an ex-parte application filed by a fellow judge, Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, seeking her release from the EFCC’s custody.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had preferred a 30 count charge against Ajumogobia and a senior advocate, Godwin Obla (SAN) over alleged pervertion of the cause of justice.

The commission had detained the duo in its custody pending the conclusion of its investigation.

Ajumogobia had then filed an ex parte application through her counsel, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), seeking enforcement of her fundamental rights before Justice Muslim Hassan. The judge fixed November 28 for hearing of the matter.

Meanwhile, Obla, who ironically was a former prosecutor for the EFCC has asked a Federal High Court Lagos, to declare his continued detention by the Commission, as unlawful.

His counsel, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) urged the court to hold that the continued detention of Obla, as well as the seizure of his mobile phones, constituted an infringement on his rights to liberty and ownership of property.

He told the court that the applicant, was invited to the commission on November 8 when he was unduly detained till date.

According to him, the phones of the applicant were also seized, contrary to constitutional provisions to own property.

He submitted that the detention of Obla from November 8 till when the EFCC obtained a magisterial order for further detention, was a gross violation of his rights to personal liberty.

In response, counsel to the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, urged the court to dismiss the applicant’s processes for lack of merit.

Oyedepo argued that the steps taken by the EFCC were allowed by law in the dispensation of its duties.

According to him, intelligence report showed that the applicant had a company known as Obla & Co Ltd, from which the sum of N5 million was transferred to Hon. Justice Ajumogobia via a company known as Nigel & Colive Ltd.

He said that also following intelligence reports, Ajumogobia was discovered to be sole signatory to Nigel & Colive Ltd.

He said that the said sum of money was transferred to the judge, during the pendency of a case before her court with suit numbered FHC/L/CS/482/10.

He argued that the mere transfer of the said sum to the Judge during the pendency of a case before her, clearly showed a mind set to unduly gratify.

He urged the court to hold that there existed a reasonable cause for suspicion by the commission.

“The applicant even agreed that there was a communication between him and the judge” he said.

On the issue of undue detention, Oyedepo argued that on November 8 after the applicant was detained, investigations could not be concluded and so, on November 9, an application was brought before a Magistrate court, for a remand order. He, therefore, urged the court not to allow itself to be used as a shield against lawful prosecution.

After listening to the submissions of counsels, Justice Mohammed Idris, fixed November 25 for judgment.


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EFCCRita Ofili-Ajumogobia
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