How Justice Ademola requested N25m bribe to grant me bail – Witness

…….you’re a liar, Ademola fires back  By Ikechukwu Nnochiri  ABUJA – Former Director in Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Dr. Sani Teidi, on Tuesday, narrated before an Abuja High Court at Maitama, how Justice Ademola Adeniyi who is facing corruption charges, kept him in prison custody for a year and two months, following his inability to pay N25million bribe.  The witness told the court that Justice Ademola approached his wife through an agent simply identified as Mr. Kingsley O. He said the agent gave his wife two different account numbers where the N25m should be paid into. Meanwhile, Justice Ademola, through his legal team led by Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, dismissed the allegation, stressing that the witness who was docked before his court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had attempted to use forged documents to get bail. Ikpeazu, SAN, maintained that there was no evidence to show that the embattled Judge, at any time, had personal contact with the witness. Teidi was on trial before Justice Ademola following his alleged complicity in the illegal diversion of over N4.6billion pension fund. Testifying as the sixth prosecution witness, PW-6, in the ongoing trial of Justice Ademola, the witness narrated how his ordeal commenced, saying it took intervention of a panel of Justices of the Court of Appeal to eventually secure his release from Kuje prison  He told the court that his travails started after he discovered that about N36billion meant for payment of pension and gratuity, were diverted into various private accounts. “After we made the discovery I sent a petition to the EFCC and ONSA.  Committee was set-up which verified my claim”. He said a committee set up by the Senate also directed that the matter be investigated and the funds recovered. The PW-6 said he was a principal witness at the Senate hearing on the missing pension funds, said he was surprised when he was charged to court over fraud he discovered. “After the Senate report I was charged to court. EFCC invited me and asked me to explain what happened to N4.5b and N7.5bn. I submitted to the EFCC the account that was used to remove the money and the mandate. “One Charles Bonet, a Permanent Secretary (Establishment), was a signatory to one of the accounts. The money was moved from UBA to Union Bank where it disappeared. “After the investigation, I was charged to court before Justice Adamu Bello of the Federal High Court in Abuja. The charges involved unlawful removal of pension funds totalling about N4.5bn. “I was charged with others and I was granted bail with one surety in the sum of N10m who must be resident within FCT.  “I fulfilled the bail term by providing one surety that owned property worth N10m and submitted the C of O, as well as surrendered my international passport. “The case started 2011. By 2012, EFCC came in with an application of what they called proper case management and the case was withdrawn. The prosecutor in that case was Godwin Obla, SAN. “While the case lasted I never jumped bail neither was my bail revoked. The case was later transferred to Justice Adeniyi Ademola. “We were two of us that were charged. Myself and one Omoefe Odugese. In April 2013, the investigator phoned me at about 9:30pmthat the case was coming up before Justice Ademola the following day”. The witness said he told the investigator that it would be impossible for him to make it to the court as scheduled considering that he was outside Abuja. He said the investigator promised to convey the situation to the court. “The next thing I knew, Justice Ademola issued a bench warrant for my arrest. There was no summon issued against me before then. “When I discovered a bench warrant was issued against me, I went to the EFCC and challenged the investigator. He told me that he duly informed the court that he was aware of my movement. “After I left EFCC, I went home and told my wife that a bench warrant has been issued on me and that I was going to honour it. “I then took myself to the court and I was remanded. Later, we were arraigned and I was denied bail. After that, somebody pressurised my wife that unless she is able to pay the sum of N25m, that I will die in prison. That I was going to be remanded in prison forever. “I now petitioned to the Chief Judge, Justice Auta, for transfer of my case to any other court.  “I came back to the court and his lordship, Justice Ademola, brought out the petition and asked if I was the author and I told him yes and he said whether I like it or not he was going to handle the case. He then sent me back to the prison and adjourned the matter sine-die (indefinitely).  “After pressure from my lawyer, he then granted me bail to the tune of N500m with two sureties. He said with the two of them the bail sum would amount to N1bn. “I met the bail conditions. One of my sureties was Chief Oke and the second was Igbelimeta Farm Projects Ltd. Before then, the person that was acting for his lordship told my wife that unless she paid that money, that even if I perfect the conditions, I would not be released. “After I perfected my bail, my counsel, Mr. S. I. Ameh, SAN, reminded Justice Ademola that we had an application before him and that the bail conditions has been met. “Justice Ademola said he was aware. That my case is like that of Boko Haram, kidnapping and terrorism. Therefore he would take his time to study the file before appending his signature. Then the case was adjourned and I was taken back to the prison. “The next time we met in court, he said sorry that rain fell on my file that there is no way he could look at it until the file dries up. I was taken back to prison custody.  “I was arraigned April 2013. I got to know why my bail was not approved around November. I heard that I would not be allowed to go out until I pay the money to Justice Ademola’s agent, one Kingsley O. who supplied an account number. “I was told I would not go out because the account submitted by Kingsley O. was not credited. The agent always had foreknowledge of what will happen in court even before sitting. He would tell me that the case would be adjourned maybe from November to December, and when we got to court things usually happened exactly the way he said it would. “The bail was never approved even when my surety Mr. Okey brought the C of O of his property. Justice Ademola gave him back his file. The surety came to meet me in the prison and told me the judge said he should take back his documents.  “Even when we applied for variation of the bail conditions he never approved it. We applied for variation after Okey withdrew his documents and we were left with only one surety who could not meet up with the N1bn condition’. Th witness said he took the case before the court of Appeal which gave him N100m bail with one surety. “The appeal court ordered that the case should be heard by any other Judge of the Federal High Court apart from Justice Ademola”. A certified copy of the appellate court judgment dated May 6, 2014, was admitted into evidence and marked as exhibit C. Besides, the witness said while he was in prison custody, Justice Ademola, issued an order that all his properties should be forfeited to the federal government. He said some of his properties forfeited on order of Justice Ademola were Brifina Hotel, Hamo Filing Station and A. Y. Ted filing station. Teidi said he developed high blood pressure while in prison and went into coma in November 2014 and was rushed to the National Hospital. “My lawyer reported the development to Justice Ademola, stressing that I was almost losing my left eye and that he should temper Justice with mercy, but he still refused”. While being cross-examined by Justice Ademola’s lawyer, Ikpeazu, SAN, the witness, told the court that the 1st defendant made the forfeiture order against his properties in chamber and not in the open court. The witness said though he did not report the extortion attempt to Police, he however went to bank to verify the two accounts that were given to him by the purported agent from Justice Ademola. The witness said he was subpoenaed to appear and testify before the court after he was summoned by the DSS. “They showed me a petition written by some individuals in respect of my being incapacitated for a year and two months and equally the circumstances surrounding my detention. After that I made a statement to them voluntarily”. Trial Justice Jude Okeke adjourned further hearing on the matter till Wednesday. FG had on Monday, told the court that eight armed men attempted to assassinate the witness at his Abuja residence. Ademola is answering to a 16-count criminal charge alongside his wife, Olabowale and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Joe Agi. FG, among other allegations, said the judge had in the discharge of his official duties, received gratifications from Agi to the tune of N38.5m.

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