The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has sealed off the house belonging to a Federal High Court Judge, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia worth about N500 million. The Judge might even forfeit the properties if she fails to explain to EFCC where she got the money to buy the houses.
According to Punch, a house located at 18 Lai Ajayi Bembe Street, Parkview Ikoyi, Lagos was traced to the judge while another property on Atlantic Drive, UPDC Estate, Lekki, which has been marked by the EFCC, was said to belong to the embattled judge.
The property located at Ikoyi which is a two-storey building stands close to the house of a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, who is also being detained by the EFCC.
The report further revealed that the Ikoyi property was searched and incriminating documents were found. It was learnt that the judge’s property which is a two-storey building with a detached quarters, costs over N350m while the one in Lekki costs over N120m.
Speaking about the sealing off of the house, an EFCC source said: “When we first invited her, she told us that she was ill and had been admitted at the Gold Cross Hospital, Bourdillon, Ikoyi. When we visited the place, we found out that she was not there.
“Moments later, some of the hospital staff tried to sneak her into the hospital but they were caught red-handed and they apologised. We later led the judge to her Parkview residence and searched the whole place.
“When asked where she got the money to build such a house, she said she got some money from her son who won a case against the London Police. She also gave some explanations which we are trying to verify.
“The Deed of Agreement is in someone else’s name but it carries her signature.”
However, the EFCC source said the judge confessed that the second home at Lekki was not hers but a rented property.
He said, “At the Lekki home located at the UPDC Estate, she claimed the property was rented but we don’t believe it so we have marked the building and it is under investigation.”
He added, “We found out that she is a director in a company known as Silver Step Incorporated and that was the name used in buying the London property. The property was bought on mortgage and it was supposed to elapse in 2018. However, payment was completed in 2014.”
On Tuesday night, the EFCC stumbled on a transaction involving N18m ($120,000 as of 2012) wired to a foreign account from her domiciliary account for the purchase of the London property in 2012.
The source said, “Ajumogobia owned up to the money but claimed it was a loan obtained privately from a family friend. The ‘family friend’, who is a chairman of an oil and gas company from where the funds emanated, has been invited by the commission for questioning. So far, he had told operatives that the money was an assistance he rendered to her.
“Inquiry into the loan facility as claimed by both of them showed no formal agreement or documentation as to how and when the repayment would be made.
“However, the oil and gas company chairman is presently telling the commission the extent of his relationship and involvement with the funds which was wired into the judge’s personal account sometime in 2012 while she was already a sitting judge of the Federal High Court.”
Ofili-Ajumogobia is one of the many judges being investigated by the EFCC on alleged fraud. She has been accused of misconduct in the past regarding an election matter which forced the National Judicial Council barred her from receiving any promotion for the remainder of her career.