Justice Hakeem Oshodi of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, has adjourned to April 16, 2019 for ruling on an application filed by Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia challenging the competence and jurisdiction of the court to entertain the charges preferred against her by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Ofili-Ajumogobia is standing trial along with Godwin Obla, SAN, on a 31-count charge bordering on an alleged perversion of the course of justice, unlawful enrichment and forgery.
Counsel for Ofili-Ajumogobia, Robert Clarke, SAN, had filed the application challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the matter.
He had also filed a “no-case” submission.
However, Ifedayo Adedipe, SAN, counsel for Obla, had told the court that the charges preferred against his client could be entertained.
He had, therefore, urged the court to separate the charges so that his client could continue with his trial.
At the resumed hearing today, January 25, 2019, the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, objected to the prayers of Clarke, Ofili-Ajumogobia’s counsel.
He argued that Clarke could not challenge the jurisdiction of the court and then urge the court to determine an application for a no-case submission.
“I do not think the issue of no-case submission should arise when the first defendant had argued that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the case”, he said.
After hearing both parties, Justice Oshodi ruled that “the issue of substantive jurisdiction must be cleared before the issue of no-case submission could be heard”.
The Judge further directed both parties to make their submissions based on the application on the jurisdiction of the court.
Clarke also told the court that in a case where the plea had been taken and the prosecution had closed its case, “there is nothing other than for the court to discharge and acquit the first defendant”.
In his response, Oyedepo urged the court not to discharge and acquit Ofili-Ajumogobia, saying, “if the court does, it will amount to the fact that the court has considered the evidence of the case.”
He, therefore, urged the court to dismiss the prayers of the first defendant.
Packaged by Mayowa Owogbade