A witness in the corruption trial of Justice Adeniyi Ademola has alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari gave the embattled judge N500,000 while his certificate controversy was pending before Mr Ademola.
Some persons had filed a suit challenging Mr. Buhari’s candidacy prior to the 2015 elections, alleging the president had no secondary school certificate as required by law.
Ademola is being prosecuted by the Nigerian government for alleged corruption. He has denied the charges and requested accelerated hearing at the trial in Abuja.
The Federal Judge is being prosecuted alongside his wife, Olubowale, and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Joe Agi.
Premium Times reports that an operative of the SSS, Babatunde Adepoju, who led investigations into the allegations, confirmed on Tuesday that he had been told, during interrogation of Mr Agi, that a gift of N500, 000 was sent through President Buhari’s lawyer, Kola Awodehin, to Mr Ademola.
The money, was allegedly sent as a gift for Ademola’s daughter’s wedding, and was delivered to the judge by Kola Awodehin, a lawyer who represented the president in a case of alleged forgery of secondary school certificate before the 2015 elections.
When Mr Agi’s lawyer asked Adepoju whether the N500,000 given at a time when Mr. Buhari had a pending case before Mr. Ademola, amounted to a bribe, so that the judge would rule in his favour.
Mr. Adepoju answered in the negative, stressing that “such would amount to a speculation in my opinion”.
On Tuesday, the prosecution closed its case against Ademola, after presenting all its witnesses.
Lawyer to Ademola, Onyeachi Ikpeazu, thereafter told the court that his client would like to make a no-case-submission.
The trial judge, Jude Okeke, adjourned the matter till March 15 for hearing of the application.
Regarding his certificate issue, President Buhari had not been satisfied with the ruling of Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja who on May 26, 2016 dismissed his preliminary objection in a suit filed against him by an Abuja-based legal practitioner, Nnamdi Nwokocha-Ahaaiwe.
The president, through his legal team led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), has appealed the ruling.
He filed a notice of appeal at the Abuja judicial division of the appellate court on seven grounds of appeal.
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Other members of the president’s legal team are Lateef O. Fagbemi (SAN), Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN), Oluwarotimi O. Akeredolu (SAN), Kola Awodein (SAN), Prof. Taiwo Osipitan (SAN), Charles Edosomwan (SAN), Emeka Ngige (SAN), Femi Atoyebi (SAN), Femi Falana (SAN), Funke Aboyade (SAN), H.O. Afolabi (SAN), Muiz Banire (SAN), and 10 other counsel.