The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said it rearrested Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, a former judge of the Federal High Court, in order to file a fresh criminal charge against her.
Ofili-Ajumogobia was rearrested right on the premises of an Ikeja High Court, Lagos, by operatives of the EFCC on Tuesday just after Justice Hakeem Oshodi had struck out corruption charges against her.
In his ruling, the judge struck out the 31-count charge bordering on an alleged perversion of the course of justice, unlawful enrichment and forgery filed by the EFCC against Ofili-Ajumogobia and Godwin Obla, on the grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the suit.
Oshodi also said the EFCC violated the procedures set by the National Judicial Council (NJC) in disciplining erring judicial officers
Citing the case of Nganjiwa V FRN as precedent, he ruled that the High Court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the suit as the EFCC “jumped the gun” in filing the first amended charge.
“As at Monday, December 11, 2017, the EFCC was aware of the decision reached by the court of appeal in Nganjiwa vs FRN,”
“As of that date, the amended information was yet to be filed and the 12 prosecution witnesses were still giving evidence.”
However, in a statement on Tuesday, Tony Orilade, EFCC’s spokesperson, said in view of Oshodi’s ruling and having complied with the NJC procedure, the commission is set to prefer fresh criminal charges against the 59-year old judge.
A statement released by the EFCC read in part “The Commission rearrested Ofili-Ajumogobia in line with the decision of the Appeal Court, Lagos Division, in a case involving Justice Hyeladzira Nganjiwa, where it said that a judge could not be prosecuted until he or she had either been dismissed or compulsorily retired by the National Judicial Council, NJC.
“Consequent upon the fact that the Commission had presented Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia before the NJC for disciplinary action and that the NJC had taken a position, the Commission would now approach the court to prefer fresh charges her.”