By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA— THE Chief Accountant of the Federal High Court, Mr. Oluyemi Kazeem Adisa, yesterday, revealed that Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the court, who is facing money laundering charges, earns N6.2 million annually.
Adisa testified as the 13th prosecution witness, PW-13, in the ongoing trial of Justice Ademola before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting at Maitama.
Ademola, grandson of a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, is answering to an amended 18-count criminal charge alongside his wife, Olabowale, and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Joe Agi.
He was, among other allegations, accused of receiving gratifications from Agi to the tune of N38.5m, including a BMW Saloon 320i car gift.
At the resumed hearing of the matter, yesterday, the prosecution brought accountant of the Federal High Court, Mr. Adisa, to give insight into the official amount Justice Ademola received as salary and emoluments from 2009 till 2016.
However, the witness said he could not give a cumulative amount the judge got as his remuneration within the period.
“My lord, I work in the central office with the responsibility of making payments to judges, staff and contractors.
“I know the first defendant in this matter. He came into the employment of the court in 2004. I can’t remember the exact month.”
The witness told the court that judges are on consolidated salary derived from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
According to the witness, “The monthly salary of the defendant is N528, 638, 67. 00 while his annual income is N6, 243, 665, 33. 00.”
“Prior to 2009, salaries of Judges were computed manually. It is noteworthy to mention that the court moved its headquarters from Lagos to Abuja in 2011. The manual record was left behind in Lagos.
“Apart from the salary, the defendant got other emoluments also contained in the document before this court.
“Judges are paid furniture allowance once in four years to the tune of N5, 414, 220. Aside that, they are entitled to N305, 000 as monthly welfare allowance.
“Also, they are entitled to medical check-up overseas once in a year. The figures could not be the same from year to year due to fluctuations in the exchange rate.
“I don’t have the figure for 2009. But from this record, in 2016, estacode was paid to Judges in dollars”.
He said Judges of the high court were in 2016, handed $6300 for air fare.
“The Annual Leave allowance of the defendant for the year was N180, 474. However, there are some local training and workshops. Ticket allowance and airfare are paid to cover such trips”.
Under cross-examination, the witness said he was aware that the British government periodically organise programmes for Judges.
Only President can approve licence for type of gun found with Justice Ademola-witness
Also ASP Tanimu Jeremiah, a prosecution witness in the trial of Justice Adeniyi Ademola, told the FCT High Court that only the President could give approval for use the type of gun found in Ademola’ s residence.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola, a Federal High Court Judge, his wife, Olabowale and Joe Agi (SAN) are standing trial before Justice Jude Okeke on allegations bordering on fraud and possession of illegal arms.
The witness said the firearm was Avar magnum with capacity of eight rounds with cartridge of 12 inches each.
“The law is clear about issuance of licence for this type of firearm for private use. Only the President reserves the right to approve application for licence for such firearm.
“This was not so with this present situation,’’ he said.
Giving evidence also, Miss Christie Ende, the Deputy Registrar of the Federal High Court, tendered the certified true copies of some of the cases handled by Ademola.
These included the case of Federal Government against Dr Sani Shaibu and Teidi Friday Ukpong against the Chief of Naval Staff.
Also the case between Jenkins Duvie Giane Gwede and the Delta State House of Assembly was admitted as evidence.
She said the third defendant (Agi) had appeared as counsel in the listed cases decided by Ademola.
Another witness, Mr Stephen Opara, an official of the Department of State Service (DSS) who interviewed and took Mrs Ademola’s statement also tendered the video in court.
Ademola was one of the seven judges prosecuted after the sting operations carried out by the DSS on October, 2016 (NAN)