•Judge: It was a loan from a ‘family friend’ •Oil firm chairman: not a loan but an assistance
THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has uncovered a bogus financial transaction of N18 million in the foreign account of Justice Rita Ngozi Ofili-Ajumogobia.
It was learnt that the commission “stumbled on the N18 million wired into the foreign account from her domiciliary account for the purchase of a property in the United Kingdom (UK).
The judge was said to be under investigation for owning a foreign account and how the cash remittance came about.
A source in EFCC said: “Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia owned up to the money, but claimed it was a loan obtained privately from a family friend.
“The ‘family friend’, who is a chairman of an oil and gas firm from where the funds emanated, has been invited by the commission for questioning.
“So far, he had told operatives that the money was an assistance he rendered to her.
“Inquiry into the loan facility as claimed by both of them showed no formal agreement or documentation as to how and when the repayment would be made.
“However, the oil and gas company chairman is at present telling the commission the extent of his relationship and involvement with the funds, which was wired into the judge’s personal account sometime in 2012 while she was a sitting judge of the Federal High Court.”
Justice Ofili-Ajumogbobia is among the six judges being investigated by the commission for alleged corruption alongside some senior lawyers.
The other five judges include Justice Nasiru Mohammed Yunusa, Justice Hydlezira A. Nganjiwa, Justice Uwani Abba Aji, Justice Agbadu Jamus Fishim and Justice Musa H. Kuriya.
The National Judicial Council (NJC) had in February sanctioned Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia for misconduct on the bench.
The council barred her from elevation to the Court of Appeal or taking any judicial appointment.
A statement by NJC Acting Director of Information Mr. Soji Oye said: “The NJC, under the chairmanship of Justice Mahmud Mohammed, at its meeting on February 24 and 25, 2016 decided to warn Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia and put her on the “watch-list” of the council for the next four years.
“The judge will also not be considered for any elevation to the Court of Appeal or any ad hoc judicial appointment till her retirement from the Bench.
“The decision was sequel to the petition written against her by Victoria Ayeni, alleging misconduct and injustice on the part of Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia for failing to deliver judgment in Suit No FHC/AB/CS/31/2011, a pre-election matter between Victoria A. A. Ayeni and Olusola Sonuga and two Ors.
“She was also alleged to have adjourned the pre-election matter several times until the termination of the lifespan of the Ogun State House of Assembly. The decision of the Council on Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia is with immediate effect.” The Nation