Posted by News Express | 9 June 2018 | 1,140 times
The ongoing trial of Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia and Godwin Obla, SAN, continued on Friday, before Justice Hakeem Oshodi of the State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, with a prosecution witness, Olumuyiwa Sholanke, stating that Ofili- Ajumogobia lied to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, that she was on sick-bed at the hospital.
The defendants are being prosecuted on an amended 31-count charge bordering on unlawful enrichment and conspiracy.
While Ofili-Ajumogobia was alleged to have received a sum of $793,800 in several tranches from different sources between 2012 and 2015, Obla allegedly offered the sum of N5m as gratification to Ofili-Ajumogobia so as to pervert the course of justice.
The offences are contrary to Sections 64(1), 82(a) and 69(1) (a) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State No. 11, 2011.
At the resumed hearing, Sholanke, Medical Director, Gold Cross Hospital, Ikoyi, Lagos, told the court that he first met the first defendant, Ofili-Ajumogobia on October 7, 2016, when she came to the hospital to complain that she was sick.
He also told the court that he admitted the first defendant for further medical check so as to know the cause of her illness and also for bed rest.
“She was admitted as a private patient in a private ward, as she was accorded the position of a ‘Very Important Person’ (VIP); and she was given a VIP procedural treatment”, the witness said.
Giving further testimony, he told the court that medications were administered on the first defendant and was also seen by a cardiologist.
"She was discharged on October 13, 2016, with a sick leave paper for a week given to her so that she could rest at home," he added.
Led by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, the witness further said that about 7.00pm on October 19, 2016, he got a call from the hospital while he was home that some EFCC operatives were in the hospital.
" Not quite long after the call came in from the hospital, I received another call from a senior operative and a lead investigator in the case, Mr. Lawal, saying that they were in the hospital to confirm whether Justice Ajumogobia was on admission or not, and I told him that she had been discharged.
" Some hours after I spoke with Mr. Lawal on the phone, Justice Ajumogobia called me to say that she was not feeling better, even with her medications.
“So, I told her to go back to the hospital for admission. I told her that I would come see her the following day.
“Meanwhile, as at the time Justice Ajumogobia called me, EFCC operatives had already occupied the hospital and were there waiting,” he further explained.
During cross-examination by counsel to the first defendant, Wale Akoni (SAN), the witness told the court that he was detained by the Commission for one night for what he described as "obstruction of Justice."
He, however, told the court that the Commission did not have the intention of detaining him, but it happened because the officer who was supposed to sign in the place of the acting Chairman of the EFCC was not available.
The defence counsel also submitted that there were records of patients before and after October 19, 2016, the day EFCC operatives allegedly occupied the hospital and demanded to know whether Ajumogobia was admitted or not.
The proceedings, however, took another turn when the defence counsel told the court that the records for that day did not reflect all the patients who were on admission.
"My Lord, for this reason, it was not shown in the record that my client was on admission, contrary to what the witness said.
In his response, the witness responded that the only case that was not included in the record list on that day was that of a patient who was brought in the midnight as emergency.
The prosecution counsel could not close his case today owing to the absence of his only remaining witness.
He, therefore, asked the court for another opportunity to bring the last witness to court on the next adjourned date.
Also, an application was moved by the counsel to the first defendant, which sought the temporary release of his client's international passport for four weeks, so as to allow her to renew the international passport.
Justice Oshodi granted the application on the conditions that “the international passport deposited with the Chief Registrar of the court shall be released for two weeks and both the old and new international passports shall be returned to the Chief Registrar on or before June 25, 2018.”
Justice Oshodi adjourned the case to September 14, 2018, for continuation of trial.
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