Mrs Ojima Etuh, the former legal aide to the suspended Federal High Court judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola on Wednesday took to the witness box to testify on how she served her boss before he ran into trouble.
Etuh said that though she carried out both official and unofficial assignments for the judge, she however quickly added that she could not remember receiving or laundering gratification for the judge at any time.
Justice Ademola is being tried by the Federal government, among others, for allegedly receiving gratification in his capacity as a federal judge from a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Joe Agi (a co-defendant in the trial) through his wife, Olabowale.
Mrs. Ojima Etuh, while being led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Barrister Segun Jegede as the third prosecution witness told the court that aside her official duties (that include carrying out research, giving legal opinion and taking record of proceedings), she also performed unofficial tasks while working in the judge’s court.
She said the unofficial tasks include paying for flight tickets from Abuja to Lagos, paying for DSTV subscription, helping him withdraw money and paying in some money as well.
But she clarified under cross-examination that she has “never received gratification for him and never laundered gratification for him”.
She said she first knew Joe Agi (SAN) in Justice Ademola’s court.
“I know him as the personal lawyer of Justice Ademola. I remember when the judge went to NJC (National Judicial Council), he went with Joe Agi as his lawyer.”
“I recalled hearing him on two occasions telling counsel that Joe Agi was going to appear in that particular case and that Joe Agi is his lawyer and friend and that if any counsel is not comfortable with that, such lawyer can apply that the case be taken from his court and assigned to another court”, she added.
Under cross-examination by Agi’s counsel, Barrister Jeph Njikonye, the witness confirmed that it was a petition made by the wife of one Sani Shuaibu Teidi who had a criminal case before the judge that took the judge and Joe Agi to the NJC.
She said she also recalled that the said petition was dismissed at the NJC.
She said when she was invited by the Department of State Services (DSS), she told them she did not know anything about gratification between the judge and Joe Agi nor had she ever received any gratification on behalf of Justice Ademola