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Judicial Corruption: Judge Entangles New Trouble

Barely a day after the National Judicial Council (NJC) asked judges trapped in corruption allegation, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has leveled fresh allegation against Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, one of the six Judges caught in the agency’s net.
Information gathered revealed that the Federal High court judge, who is been investigated by EFCC is in fresh trouble for allegedly receiving N5m from a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Sources within the told our correspondent that the SAN had been invited to explain what the money was meant for.
A detective in the EFCC said, “We have evidence that Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia collected N5m from a senior advocate. We have invited him (the SAN) and he is supposed to appear this week.”
Ofili-Ajumogobia, who acquitted a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, last year is believed to own properties worth almost a billion naira in Lekki, Ikoyi and London.
Earlier in the year, the National Judicial Council barred her from getting any promotion for the remainder of her career.
Also investigation discovered that Ajumogobia’s brother, whose name is Donald was on Saturday quizzed over the movement of hard currency his account domiciled in a Nigerian commercial bank.
No fewer than 10 SANs and five other lawyers are in the soup for allegedly bribing some judges.
Impeccable sources within the EFCC disclosed that some of the senior advocates paid money into the bank accounts of the judges while some others sent cash to the judges via proxies.
A source specifically told The PUNCH that some of the SANs had pending cases before the judges when the money was given to the judges.
Some of the senior advocates who had been quizzed by the EFCC include the National Legal Adviser of the All Progressives Congress, Dr. Muiz Banire; Norrison Quakers, Rickey Tarfa, Chief Felix Fagbohun, Paul Usoro, Joseph Nwobike and Valentine Obi.
Four lawyers, who are not senior advocates, were also quizzed. They are Lai Arikewuyo, Titus Orimijupa, Bayo Onitubora and Iniebong Etek.
It was learnt that three other SANs – Joe Gadzama, who contested the Presidency of the Nigerian Bar Association; Chief Adeniyi Akintola and Godwin Obla – had also been invited by the commission as well as another lawyer, Mr. Kola Olateru.
It was learnt that the senior advocates, who had been quizzed, had made useful statements while their passports had been seized.
A source at the commission said, “We quizzed them because they had at one time or the other deposited money into the bank accounts of judges. Many of them claimed the money was not a bribe but the troubling element there is that some of them had cases before the judges.
“For instance, Justice Terseer Fishim of the Industrial Court was handling the cases of some of the SANs in question and yet he received N550, 000 and N200,000 from two SANs.”
Apart from Fishim and Ofili-Ajumogobia, other judges interrogated by the EFCC included Uwani Abba-Aji of the Court of Appeal; Mohammed Yunusa of the Federal High Court; Nganjiwa Hyledzira of the Federal High Court; and Musa Kurya of the Federal High Court.
A Federal High Court Registrar, Helen Ogunleye, was also arrested and quizzed by the EFCC.

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