The Federal Capital Territory, FCT, high court, Abuja has declared Justice Adeniyi Ademola, of the federal high court Abuja, not guilty of the corruption charges brought against him by the Federal Government.
Trial Judge, Jude Okeke, in his ruling on Wednesday, held that the prosecution could not provide enough evidence to prove that the accused person actually committed the crimes he was accused of.
An 18-count charge of corruption and illegal possession of firearm was brought against Ademola, his wife Olubowale and a senior lawyer, Joe Agi, by the federal government, following the raid conducted on the Justice’s residence by operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS, in October 2016.
The government alleged that Ademola abused his position as a judge by receiving gratifications, through his wife and Agi from lawyers who had cases in his court.
But after the FG had opened its case and called its witnesses, the defence team filed a no-case application, asking the trial judge to strike out the charges for lack of evidence.
Justice Okeke in his ruling on the no-case submission agreed that the prosecution did not adduce enough evidence to warrant the defendant to enter a defence.
According to the judge, the prosecution did not establish a prima facie case against the defendants and had provided no iota of evidence to prove that the defendants were guilty of the charges levelled against them.
Okeke advised the prosecution to ensure that proper investigations were carried out before suspects are arraigned.
It is not immediately clear whether the federal government will appeal the decision of the FCT High Court or not.
Recall that Justice Ademola was suspended by the National Judicial Counsel, NJC, pending the determination of the case against him.
The trial took an interesting turn earlier in February this year when a prosecution witness admitted that President Muhammadu Buhari, through one of his lawyers, Kola Awodein, SAN, had given Ademola the sum of N500,000, at a time when he was presiding over a case challenging the President’s academic qualification.
However, Awodein explained that the money was not from President Buhari, but rather was his own personal gift to Ademola as a friend and a colleague whose daughter was celebrating an important landmark in her life.
It should also be noted that the FG had also filed separate charges against Ademola at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, accusing him of false asset declaration.