I Helped ‘corrupt’ Judge Deposit Millions – Diamond Bank Employee
BEVERLY HILLS, January 9, (THEWILL) – The details of bank transactions of Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, a Federal High Court judge standing trial over alleged corruption, were on Monday revealed at an Ikeja High Court, Lagos.
The details were revealed before a packed courtroom during the continuation of the evidence-in-chief of her account officer, Ademola Oshodi, a banker with Diamond Bank Plc.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Mrs. Ofili-Ajumogobia and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Godwin Obla, are being tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for alleged corruption.
They are jointly being charged for perverting the course of justice by the anti-graft agency.
However, Mr. Obla is facing an additional two-count charge of offering gratification of N5 million to Mrs. Ofili-Ajumogobia, a public official, during her service as a judge.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Ofili-Ajumogobia faces a 26-count charge of unlawful enrichment, taking property by a public officer, corruption by a public officer, forgery and giving false information to an official of the EFCC.
Both, however, denied all the charges.
Mrs. Ofili-Ajumogobia is being prosecuted by the EFCC for allegedly enriching herself by illegally receiving $793,800 from various sources from 2012 to 2015.
During Monday's proceedings, Mr. Oshodi, while being led in evidence by counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, revealed how he helped the judge to deposit large sums of foreign currencies into her three accounts with Diamond Bank.
The account officer narrated to the court that he collected large sums from the judge at her chambers at the Federal High Court, Lagos, and her residence.
“I made cash deposits into the accounts on behalf of Hon. Ofili-Ajumogobia; the monies that were deposited were received from her at her chambers or her house,” he said.
The banker read out to the court various transactions he had made for the judge on her Diamond Bank account with number 0029928474.
He said he had paid in various sums ranging from N22 million to N670, 000 into the said account and on most occasions, those sums were converted to naira from dollar.
“Hon. Ofili-Ajumogobia would normally call if there is a need for me to assist her in changing other currencies and I will either go to her house or office to pick up the US dollars.
“A colleague of mine called Alex Agu also helped with these transactions. On Dec. 17, 2015, N1 million was picked up by Agu on behalf of the judge and was credited into her account,” he said.
Mr. Oshodi also revealed the details of Mrs. Ofili-Ajumogobia's second account with the bank; a dollar account with number 003091183.
He narrated with the guidance of the EFCC counsel on how he had deposited on numerous occasions various sums ranging from $4,800 to $150,000 into her dollar account.
“$139,815 was transferred outside the country into the account of Silversteps Incorporated, a company domiciled in the United Kingdom.
“The transfer was done on the instruction of the judge. I'm not familiar with the company or had any dealing with them.
“On May 10, 2013, I received the sum of $120,000 from the judge and had to pay into her dollar account installments of $10,000 over 12 days.
“The first installment was on that day while the 11 other installments were from May 14 to May 28.
“I had to pay in the dollars over 12 days because the bank had a daily maximum deposit of $10,000 and during this transaction, the undeposited dollars were in the custody of the bank,” said Oshodi.
The account officer noted that when depositing the money for the judge, he filled a bank teller on Mrs. Ofili-Ajumogobia's behalf, writing her name as the depositor.
“However, on March 29, 2014, I received $150,000 from Hon. Ofili-Ajumogobia and credited it into her dollar account, but following her instruction, I wrote one Donald Ofili as the depositor,” he said.
Mr. Oshodi also gave details of a third account of the judge which was a corporate account, called Nigel and Colive.
“There is a corporate account which was opened in September 2013 called Nigel and Colive with account number 0036103635.
“The address of the company is No. 18, Lai Bende St., Fadire Estate. The corporate account opening form had to be filled and the company documents verified before it can be opened,” he said.
According to Mr. Oshodi, Diamond Bank waived some requirements for the opening corporate accounts because of their relationship with the judge.
“We did a physical visitation to the address and we found out that the site of the building was still under construction.
“However, because Hon. Ofili-Ajumogobia is our customer and we knew that the property was hers, we proceeded to open the account.”
Justice Hakeem Oshodi has adjourned the case to January 30 for continuation of trial.