How we recovered N54m, foreign currencies from Justice Ademola’s house – DSS

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An operative of the Department of State Services, DSS, Ike Onuoha, has recounted how Justice Adeniyi Ademola stashed cash in foreign and local currencies in Ghana-must-go bags in different locations of his residence in Apo Legislative quarters.

Onuoha, who led a sting operation to the judge's house on October 7, 2016, told an Abuja High Court sitting in Maitama, that his team discovered N39.5m in N1,000 denomination; N8.5m in N1,000 denomination; N6m; £121,179; 4,400; £80 pounds and 1,010 Indian Rupees, in bags planted at different locations in Ademola's house.

Ademola was among seven Judges that were arrested after a sting operation by the secret police between October 7 and 8, 2016.

He is currently standing trial alongside his wife, Olabowale and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Joe Agi on 16-counts charges bordering on receipt of gratifications.

Led in evidence by the lead prosecuting counsel, Segun Jegede, at the resumed hearing on Tuesday, the operative told the court that the Judge lied, by claiming to be out of town when DSS operatives visited his house to carry out a search on October 7, 2016.

The witnessed said the operation was based on petitions and information alleging that Ademola had in his possession incriminating materials.

Onuoha revealed that when his team arrived the judge's residence with a duly signed search warrant, the security guard told them that only the cook who was simply identified as Ken, had keys to the apartment.

According to Onuoha, "Ken eventually came and told us the judge was out of town.

"We then asked him to call the judge on his phone. We did so because we had reasons to believe that the judge was, in fact, at home.

"When we entered the premises, we called on Ken to call the judge with his mobile phone. Ken called the judge severally but he refused to pick. Much later, the judge sent a text message that he was not in town. After repeated calls, he switched off his phone. At that point, we had no option but to force open the main door. When we entered, we saw Justice Ademola in the master's bedroom upstairs in his night wears. That was few minutes after 12 midnight."

The witness noted that upon gaining entrance into the building, Ademola requested for the presence of his lawyer, Agi before the search commenced which was granted.

The witness added, "As we continued our search on the ground floor, we encountered a locked bedroom.

"We requested the keys, but we were not given. We then had no option but to force open the door. Inside the bedroom, we saw a locked wardrobe which we also had to force open when the keys were not made available to us.

"Inside the wardrobe, we found a Ghana-must-go bag containing various N1,000 denomination notes to the tune of N39.5m after counting it on the spot. We also found two black pump action rifles and 35 life cartridges of ammunition. We also found a silver-coloured flash drive."

He added that in the course of the search another room was found where the sum of N8.5m in N1,000 denomination was discovered inside a black and white medium-sized bag which was locked up in a wardrobe.

Onuoha said his team also found "in the master's bedroom, in an open wardrobe, a black bag where we found the sum of N6m, 121,179 US dollars, 4,400 Euros, 80 pounds, 1,010 Indian Rupees.

"We also recovered six ATM cards, eight cheque books, eight deposit slips for various banks, two firearm licences – one for Honourable Justice A.R. Muhammed, the other for Honourable Justice Adeniyi Ademola. We also recovered two Apple ipads."
During cross examination, Onuoha confirmed that licenses for the firearms are renewable, saying the Nigerian Police Force has the responsibility of both issuance and renewal of firearms. He said his investigation did not extend to interviewing Hon. Justice A.R. Muhammed to ascertain the reason why a gun is licensed in his name and found in the residence of Justice Ademola.

The witness disclosed that he was not aware that ordering the release of detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu from DSS' custody by Justice Ademola, was the reason for his arrest and trial.

He maintained that the operation was as a result of petitions, intelligence and information gathered by the security agency.

Subsequently, Justice Jude Okeke adjourned the matter till Wednesday ( today).

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