Justice Adeniyi Ademola (right) looks away from the camera while appearing before an Abuja High Court on Tuesday.<br />PHOTO: LADIDI LUCY ELUKPOThe Federal Government yesterday amended the charges brought against Justice Adeniyi Ademola, his wife and an Abuja-based Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Joe Agi, by additional two counts.
The three defendants however pleaded not guilty to the amended charges, which increased the number of charges from the initial 16 to 18 counts. Consequently,they were allowed to continue enjoying the bail earlier granted them. The Federal Government also tendered before the Federal Capital Territory High Court, monies and other items allegedly recovered by the operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) from the house of Justice Ademola in October last year.
The items were tendered through the Agency’s Exhibit Keeper, Mr. Umar Ahmed, who appeared in court as the 11th prosecution witness in the ongoing joint trial of the three defendants.
Umar totaled the various sums of money contained in three separate bags as N54 million; $171,779; €4,400; £80 and R1, 010 (Indian Rupee). The guns tendered were accompanied with original copies and photocopies of the licenses bearing names of Justices Ademola and Mohmammed.
Umar also identified two iPads and a 8GB flash drive as part of the items recovered from his house.He said four mobile phones, belonging to the Judge were equally recovered from the house but later returned to the Judge. The defence team comprising Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), Robert Clarke (SAN) and Mr. Jeph Njikonye, said they had no objection to the admissibility of the items as exhibits and Justice Jude Okeke subsequently admitted all the items as exhibits.
Afterwards, the Director of Litigation, Federal Capital Territory High Court, Mr. Madugu Mohammed, was invited to make an arrangement for the safekeeping of the money.
The prosecution and defence lawyers eventually reached an agreement to hand over the money to Mohammed for onward transfer to a “deposit account”. The judge ordered that the cash sums marked as Exhibits X, Z, BB, CC, DD, EE and FF, must always be made available to the court whenever the need for them arose.
Under cross-examination however, the witness admitted that there were other items, mostly cheque books, recovered from Ademola that were not yet returned to him. Earlier, a banker with a commercial bank, Mr. Malik Babatunde, who is the 10th prosecution witness informed the court that Ademola allegedly transferred the total sum of N175 million from his account to that of Don Parker Properties’ account on January 24, 2014.
The witness confirmed under cross-examination that there was no entry around March 11, 2014, showing either lump sum of N30 million or N10 million transferred from the wife of Justice Ademola (Olabowale) to the Judge’s account.
He also confirmed that there was no regulation or policy barring civil servants from paying for properties from their accounts. The trial has been adjourned till today.