A staff of Diamond Bank Plc, Ademola Oshodi, has revealed how he transferred thousands of US dollars to a company named Silver Steps Incorporated in the United Kingdom on the directive of Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia.
The judge and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Godwin Obla, are facing trial at the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja for alleged bribery and unlawful enrichment.
Testifying in court on Monday, January 9, Oshodi recalled that on on May 10, 2013, he picked a cash of $120,000 from the judge’s chambers and helped her wire the money to the UK company in tranches of $10,000 over 12 days.
Explaining why he split the transaction, he said “the bank has a daily maximum deposit of $10,000,” adding that the bulk of the $120,000 was kept in the custody of Diamond Bank till May 30, 2013, when the last $10,000 was transfered.
“I filled the tellers for the transactions on behalf of Honourable Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia. I wrote the name of Honourable Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia as the payee on the tellers,” the banker said.
The court had admitted the witness’ extrajudicial statement made to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as exhibit in evidence against Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia.
It also admitted as exhibits, the statement of at least five accounts (both naira and domiciliary) owned by Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia, including one in the name of her company, Nigel & Colive Limited.
The banker added: “Apart from the naira and dollar accounts, there is a corporate account named Nigel & Colive Ltd. with number 0036103685. The account was opened in September 2013. The address of Nigel & Colive is No 18 Lai Deinde Street, Fajuyi Estate.
“We made physical visitation to the address at 18 Lai Deinde Street and at the location, we found out that it was still under construction but because Honourable Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia is our customer and we knew that the property belonged to her, we proceeded to open the account.”
Apart from the $120,000, the witness also revealed how several thousands of dollars were allegedly transferred from Diamond Bank to Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia’s foreign bank account in the UK.
The EFCC arraigned Ofili-Ajumogobia and Obla on a 30-count charge on November 28, 2016 before Justice Hakeem Oshodi.
In the charges, the anti-graft agency alleged that Obla, while appearing in a suit number FHC/L/C/482c/2010 before Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia, offered a gratification of N5 million to the judge to allegedly induce the judge to refrain from acting in the exercise of her official duties as a public official.
It also accused the judge of receiving a total of $793,800 in several tranches from different sources between 2012 and 2015 “so as to have a significant increase in your assets that you cannot reasonably explain the increase in relation to your lawful income.”
The case was adjourned till January 30, 2017 for further hearing.