The Department of State Services (DSS) gave details on Tuesday of what its operatives recovered from the Abuja home of Justice Adeniyi Ademola and how the search on the judge’s house was conducted.
Operatives of the DSS had on December 7, 2016, invaded the judge’s house at night, searched it, following which Justice Ademola was arrested and released later.
A DSS operative, Ike Onuoha, who said he led a team of eight men to the judge’s house at No 30B, S.O Ogbemudia Crescent, Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja, said the invasion of the Judge’s house was upon instruction from his superior.
Onuoha spoke while testifying as the second prosecution witness in the trial of Justice Ademola, his wife, Olabowale and a lawyer, Joe Agi (SAN) on Tuesday.
Led in evidence by lead prosecution lawyer, Segun Jegede, Onuoha said his team was briefed based on a petition and information relating to incriminating items in the house of the judge.
He said the search was conducted in the presence of the judge’s lawyer, Agi and his (judge’s) cook, Ken, and that they recovered N54m, $121,279, €4,400, £80 and 1,010 rupees.
Onuoha said his team also recovered two pump action rifles (rifles means a gun, especially one fired from shoulder level, having a long spirally grooved barrel intended to make a bullet spin and thereby have greater accuracy over a long distance.)and 35 life cartridges (a casing containing a charge and a bullet or shot for small arms or an explosive charge for blasting.).
Justifying why the team forced it’s way into the house, the witness said: “When we entered the premises, we called on Ken to call the Judge with his mobile phone. Ken called the judge severally but he refused to pick.
“Much later, the Judge sent a text message that he was not in town. After repeated calls, he switched off his phone. At that point, we had no option than to force open the main door.
“When we entered, we saw Justice Ademola in the master-bedroom upstairs in his night wears. That was few minutes after 12 midnight.”
Onuoha added that the judge later asked them to await his lawyer, Agi, who after discussing with the judge gave the team the nod to search the house.
Justice Ademola and his wife in the dock (an enclosed area).
“As we continued our search on the ground floor, we encountered a locked bedroom.
“We requested for the keys, but we were not given. We then had no option than to force open the door. Inside the bedroom, we saw a locked wardrobe which we also had to force open when the keys were not made available to us.
“Inside the wardrobe, 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”, Onuoha said.
The witness said his team also found another locked room where they recovered the sum of N8.5 million in N1,000 denomination inside a black and white medium sized bags locked up in a wardrobe.
He said they also found, in the master-bedroom, in an open wardrobe, a black bag “where we found the sum of N6m, $121,179, €4,400, £80, 1,010 Indian Rupees.
“We also recovered six ATM cards, eight cheque books, eight deposit slips for various banks, two firearm licence – one for Honourable Justice A.R. Muhammed, the other for Honourable Justice Adeniyi Ademola. We also recovered two Apple iPads.”
Under cross-examination by a defence lawyer, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), Onuohasaid his team forced the main door of the judge’s house opened, “using screw bar because the cook and the private security guard refused to open the door even after we introduced ourselves and told them our mission.”
He denied the claim by Ikpeazu that there were bullet holes on the security door to the judge’s house.
On whether the judge searched members of his team before they searched his house, Onuoha said the judge’s cook did the searching.
Onuoha said his team did not see the judge’s wife when they visited. He added her property were not part of the items recovered from the house.
The witness said he did not see the petition on which his team acted and that he did not know whether there was a petition or not against the judge.
He said he was not aware that ordering the release of Nnamdi Kanu from DSS’ custody by Justice Ademola was the judge’s offence against the DSS that prompted the search.
Onuoha said he could not provide the sources of the information, because “Sources of information are classified.”
Justice Okeke adjourned further proceedings to Wednesday.
Before the adjournment, Jegede told the court that his witnesses were being threatened.