The federal government on Monday, said it intended to amend the 11 counts Criminal charges against Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court to include a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Joe Aji.
The announcement came just as Justice Jude Okeke of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory granted a motion for accelerated hearing of criminal charges bordering on corruption filed against Justice Adeniyi Ademola and his wife Olabowale.
The ruling followed an application by defence lawyer for speedy trial and an agreement between the Federal government lawyer and the defence lawyers that the matter be adjourned till Wednesday 11 to enable the prosecution re-arraigns Justice Ademola with Joe Aji a senior advocate of Nigeria accused of barbering Ademola
According to the prosecution, the application is seeking a situation where the defendants could be tried together in one suit.
Recall that FG in the 11 count charge filed against the defendants had alleged that the Senior Advocate had on several occasions offered various sums of money to the first defendant in form of gratification.
The Judge who had earlier granted Justice Ademola’s application for abridgement of time for accelerated hearing also fixed Monday 16 to Wednesday 18 January for trials to commence.
Justice Okeke also urged counsel in the matter to avail them of every situation that would ensure speedy trial of the matter.
Both Onyechie Ikpeazu SAN and Robert Clerke SAN, counsel to the Ademolas had in their different application prayed the court for an accelerated hearing of the matter in order to prove the innocence of their clients.
The counsel disclosed that they had filed a motion dated Dec. 16 for abridgement of time for an accelerated hearing of the case.
They argued that this was in pursuant to the provisions of Section 396 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.
Counsel to the Federal Government Segun Jegede, did not object to the motion, he however told the court that he would file an amended charge to bring in a third defendant, Mr Joe Agi (SAN).
Recall that Justice Okeke had fixed Jan 18 for commencement of trial of the Ademolas last December following his granting bail to them on self-recognition ground.
In considering the application, Justice Okeke stated that the prosecution did not deny the administrative bail granted the defendants.
He also observed that the prosecution did not oppose the application, nor filed a counter-affidavit contravening the averments of the defendants in their applications.
He further held that by not filing a counter-affidavit, the prosecution has concluded its investigation of the matter.
While stating that the offence with which the defendants were charged are bail able, he held that though the requirement for the submission of passports and other travel documents were not required for the administrative bail, the court however. cannot over-look it.
He therefore, granted them bail in self recognition in the sum of N50m each and ordered that their international passports and other travel documents be deposited with the court registrar.
Ademola and wife Mrs Olabowale were arraigned by the Federal Government on an 11-count charge of criminal conspiracy to receive gratification in various ways contrary to section 8(1)(a) of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and other related Offences Act 2000.
Justice Ademola was among the seven Justices investigated after the sting operations carried out on Oct. 8 and 9 by the Department of State Security (DSS).