Witness Denies Receiving Gratifications On Judge’s Behalf

Justice Adeniyi Ademola and Wife trying to shield their faces from Journalists when they were arraigned in December 2016
File: Justice Adeniyi Ademola and his Wife on their first day in court back in December 2016

As the trial of Justice Adeniyi Ademola, continued on Wednesday, a third witness, Ojima Etuh, told the court that she never received nor laundered gratifications on behalf of the federal high court Judge.

Etuh, who was a former legal assistant to the embattled justice, was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Segun Jegede.

The witness said she carried out both official and unofficial duties for Justice Ademola when she worked with him. The official duties include carrying out research, giving legal opinion and taking record of proceedings, while the unofficial tasks include paying for flight tickets from Abuja to Lagos, paying for DSTV subscription, helping him withdraw money and paying in some money as well.

She however insisted that she has “never received gratification for him and never laundered gratification for him.”

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On how she got to know the third defendant, Joe Agi, Etuh said: “I know him as the personal lawyer of Justice Ademola. I remember when the judge went to NJC (National Judicial Council) he went with Joe Agi as his lawyer.”

“I recalled hearing him on two occasions telling counsels that Joe Agi was going to appear in that particular case and that Joe Agi is his lawyer and friend and that if any counsel is not comfortable with that, such lawyer can apply that the case be taken from his court and assigned to another court”, she added.

The witness, during cross-examination by Agi’s counsel, Jeph Njikonye, told the court that it was a petition by the wife of one Sani Shuaibu Teidi who had a criminal case before justice Ademola that took the judge and Joe Agi to the NJC.

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She also added that the petition was later dismissed at the NJC.

Etu told the court that when the DSS invited her to testify against her former boss, she told them she does not know anything about gratification between the first and third accused persons; neither has she ever received any ratification on behalf of the Judge.

Justice Ademola, his wife – Olabowale are accused by the Federal government of receiving huge and monetary gratifications from the third defendant, Joe Agi.

On Tuesday, another Prosecution witness, Ike Onuoha, told the court how DSS operatives had recovered millions of Naira from the Judge’s residence when a search was conducted there in October 2016.

Onuoha, was the team leader of the eight-man DSS team that raided the house of the judge last year.

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According to Onuoha, “we found a Ghana-must-go bag containing various N1,000 denomination notes to the tune of N39.5 million after counting it on the spot.

“We also found two black pump action rifles and 35 life cartridges of ammunition. We also found a silver-coloured flash drive.”

The witness also said that He added that they found another locked room where they recovered “the sum of N8.5 million in N1,000 denomination inside a black and white medium sized locked up in a wardrobe.”

And “in the master’s bedroom”, the team saw in an open wardrobe, “a black bag where we found the sum of 6 million Naira, 121,179 US dollars, 4,400 Euros, 80 pounds, 1,010 Indian Rupees.”