The High Court of the FCT in Maitama, Abuja on Wednesday threw out the charges against Justice Adeniyi Ademola, his wife Olubowale, and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Joe Agi, brought against them by the federal government.
Justice Jude Okeke upheld the no-case submissions filed by the defendants, and ruled that the prosecution was unable to make out a prima facie case with respect to any of the 18 counts on concluding its case with 19 witnesses and exhibits A to ZZZ to warrant calling on the defendants to enter their defence.
The Ademolas, and Agi were dragged before the court last year by the Attorney-General Federation following a raid on Justice Ademola’s residence by operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS) operatives on the judge’s house on October 7, 2016.
The court in its final ruling, stated that the federal government’s case was built on suspicion and speculation fuelled by a feeling to fight against corruption which no reasonable court could base any conviction on.
Justice Okeke explained that going by the prosecution’s submission, it would amount to asking the defendants to prove their innocence, instead of the other way round, as provided for in the Constitution which requires the accuser to prove the guilt of the defendants.
According to him, the prosecution was unable to prove that the sum of N30m paid by Agi into Olubowale’s bank account in three tranches of N10m each between March 11 and 26, 2015, was gratification meant to influence Justice Ademola in his official functions.
Justice Okeke held that the federal government was unable to show any evidence to the claim that the sum of N30m was not a gift passed from two mutual friends of Justice Ademola and Agi by the SAN to Olubowale in support of the Ademolas for the wedding of their daughters held in April 2015.
The court ruled that the charges also failed to disclose which of the particular official functions of Justice Ademola – whether the judicial functions done in open court, or administrative functions– the N30m was meant to influence.
He also ruled that the inability of the 16th prosecution witness, an officer of the Department of State Service, Mr. Babatunde Adepoju, who investigated the case, to link the gift of N30m to any case Agi was having before Justice Ademola was fatal to the case of the prosecution.