Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court, Lagos, Thursday, fixed May 31, for hearing of a motion by embattled former Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, challenging her trial before the court.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), May 15, this year re-arraigned Ofili-Ajumogobia and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Godwin Obla, on 18 counts bordering on Conspiracy, Unlawful Enrichment, retention of Crime Proceeds and Money Laundering. The duo pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The court had granted them bail in the sum of N10million each, with two sureties in like sum.
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When the case was called on Thursday, Chief Robert Clarke (SAN) announced appearance for the first defendant, while Chief Ferdinand Orbih (SAN) appeared for the second defendant.
Clarke then informed the court of a Preliminary objection challenging the courts jurisdiction to entertain the charge against Ajumogobia.
Counsel argued that the first defendant had not being dismissed as a judge of the Federal High Court, since there were no gazette evidencing her said dismissal.
He said that a failure to show evidence of such dismissal denied the court of the requisite jurisdiction to entertain the case.
He argued that the defendant was prosecuted for about two and half years before an Ikeja division of the Lagos High Court, with 18 witnesses called by the prosecution, before the court dismissed the suit.
He, therefore, urged the court to hear defendant’s application.
On his part, second defence counsel, Orbih also informed the court of his motion seeking to split the charge and try the second defendant separately.
Responding, the prosecutor urged the court not be persuaded to hear the motions alone, but that where the court is inclined to hearing same, it should also proceed with trial, following which the court would deliver a composite judgement in the end.
He argued that the various applications by defence was aimed at stalling trial and clogging justice, adding that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, seeks to redress such mischief of delays.
The court consequently, adjourned the case until May 31 for hearing.
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