The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has commenced moves to remand a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Godwin Obla, for allegedly paying N5 million into the bank account of a Federal High Court judge, Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia.
Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia is one of the judges under investigation following the corruption allegations brought against some senior judges in the country.
She was being quizzed by the EFCC for allegedly receiving money from a senior lawyer through her bank account, but it was later discovered that Obla, a former EFCC prosecutor, was the one that paid in the said amount into the Judge’s account.
Obla has been in EFCC detention since Tuesday.
Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia had told investigators that the N5m was a deposit for a N40m property she sold to Obla in 2015, but the senior advocate denied having any transaction with the judge, saying that he was deceived into paying the money into her account.
According to an EFCC detective who spoke to the PUNCH newspaper: “The High Court judge had earlier told operatives during interrogation that the money was a part payment for a property she sold to the lawyer in Abuja for the sum of N40m sometime in 2015.
“But Obla’s response contradicted the judge’s position. The senior advocate told investigators that the money was meant for buying of building materials (iron rods) for a building he was putting up in Abuja and not for buying of any property.”
“Obla explained that in one of his trips to Lagos, he ran into the judge who had been a contemporary in university days and asked her where he could get very good building materials in Lagos.
“He said the judge gave him the name of someone who plies the trade. She provided the company’s name and the account number for the transaction. Obla said he paid the money and goods were supplied.”
The EFCC source however said that the senior lawyer could not provide the name or address of the trader from whom the building materials were purchased, nor the receipt of transaction and delivery evidence of the goods.
He added that the anti-graft agency was able to establish that the company which owned the said account belonged to Ofili-Ajumogobia and her children.
“The account number the N5m was paid into by the senior lawyer has been confirmed earlier to be a company belonging to the female judge and her children. The registered company, not known to be engaged in building materials or any viable business is suspected to be surreptitiously set up for the purpose of warehousing proceeds of gratification,” he added.