After ignoring two invitations from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to appear before its operatives to answer to allegations of corrupt practices, a Federal High Court Judge, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, finally turned in herself to the operatives.
It was learnt from competent source that the embattled judge turned in herself around 6pm after claiming to be ill for two days, a claim the operatives busted by storming the medical facility she said she was admitted. Ofili-Ajumogobia, who was invited alongside five other judges, reportedly told EFCC operatives that she was in the Intensive Care Unit of a hospital and would not be able to honour its invitation.
However, worried by the action of the woman, EFCC operatives are said to have immediately swooped on the hospital only to discover that she was not there. Operatives, trying to prove her wrong, were reported to have called the judge’s phone number shortly, asking her why she did not show up in their office in Ikoyi and she quickly replied that she was on admission in the said hospital. “Our operatives quickly told her that they were already in the ICU of the hospital, a development that shocked the judge.
At that point, she immediately switched off her phone,” one of the sources close to the commission said. “We later found out that an administrative staff of the hospital was trying to insert the Judge’s name into its record as an in-patient but was questioned for the illegal action.” Our correspondent learnt that the EFCC had completed moves to arrest the judge just before she turned in herself to the commission last night.
There were indications last night that the medical officer of the hospital might be questioned over the attempt to shield the judge from investigation. It will be recalled that in March this year, the National Judicial Council had imposed heavy disciplinary measures on Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia, including precluding her from any promotions to the Court of Appeal or any Ad-hoc judicial appointment until her retirement from the profession. It also put her on the “Watch-List” of the Council for four years.
The decisions followed an electoral petition filed by one Victoria Ayeni which the NJC appeared to find credible. The petitioner had alleged misconduct and injustice by Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia for failing to deliver judgment in a pre-election suit between her and her political rivals.