Court discharges Justice Ademola
A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting at Maitama, has on Wednesday, April 5, struck out the 18-count corruption charge the federal government preferred against Justice Adeniyi Ademola, his wife, Olabowale and a senior advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Joe Agi.
The court maintained that the federal government failed to prove any of the allegations it levied against the embattled Judge who served at the Abuja division of the Federal High Court.
Consequently, trial Justice Jude Okeke, in a ruling that lasted for over five hours, terminated further hearing on the criminal case, even as he discharged and acquitted all the defendants. Justice Okeke held that that government failed to establish that Ademola received gratifications from Agi to the tune of N38.5m, including a BMW Saloon 320i car gift.
However, the judge noted that the lead investigator, PW-16, in his evidence-in-chief, said he could not establish any link between the monetary gift and any case that was handled by the 1st defendant. According to Justice Okeke, the PW-16, who was reminded that President Muhammadu Buhari’s lawyer, Mr. Kola Awodehin, SAN, equally gave Justice Ademola N.5m gift during his daughter’s wedding, at a time Buhari’s certificate case was pending before his court, had stated that misinterpreting such gesture as gratification would amount to speculation. “This court totally agrees with the PW-16 that taking the N30m gift the 3rd defendant paid into the account of the 2nd defendant as bribe will be speculative and no court can convict based on speculation.”
He held that the prosecution failed to discharge the burden of proof placed upon it by the law. It will be recalled that Justice Ademola who is a grandson to a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, was among seven superior court Judges that were arrested after a sting operation the Department of State Service (DSS), conducted between October 7 and 8, 2016.
The National Judicial Council, NJC, had asked him to temporarily step down from the bench pending determination of allegations that the FG raised against him.