The Prosecution opened its case yesterday in the trial of Justice Adeniyi Ademola, his wife, Olabowale and Joe Agi (SAN) by calling its first witness, Miss Ifeoma Ofonagolu.

Miss Ofonagolu, a Sales Consultant with an auto marketing firm, Coscharis Nigeria Limited, gave details of how she facilitated the sale of a  BMW 320i car to Justice Ademola’s son, Ademide, but with payment made by Agi, through his law firm, Joe Agi and Asoociates.

The prosecution, in one of the 16 counts in the charge against Justice Ademola, his wife and Agi, accused the judge of receiving gratification of “a BMW saloon 320i, valued at N8. 5m from Joe Odey Agi, through your son, Ademide Ademola, act contrary to Section 8(1)(a) of the Corrupt Practices and other related offences Act, 2000.”

Miss Ofonagolu, who was led in evidence yesterday by lead prosecution lawyer, Segun Jegede said the negotiation for the purchase of the car began between her and Ademide in December 2014, but was concluded on January 5, 2016 when Agi made payment via bank transfer to Coscharis’ account with Zenith Bank Plc.
When asked if she has heard the name Joe Agi in the course of her work with Coscharis, the witness, who said she had been in the company for about three years, said she became familiar with Agi’s name during the closing of the sales transaction with Ademide.
“The name came up after we had the sale talk about the car. He requested that I sent the quote to him and attention it to Joe Agi.”
When asked to explain why Agi needed to be attentioned with quote, the witness said:
“It means that if a customer wants to make payment or purchase a vehicle, he will give the name of the purchaser and who it should be attentioned to. That could be the person, who is to make payment or handle the transaction.”
The witness continued: “We started the sales talks in December 2014 and it spilled over to January 2015. The deal was closed on January 5, 2015.
“I issued an invoice to Ademide Ademola. The price of the car was N8m and the VAT was N400,000. The price was stated on the invoice.
“The car was paid for through a cash transfer from Joe Agi and Associates. The payment was made once on January 5, 2015.
“Usually, when payment has been made by a customer, he or she contacts the sales person that the payment has been made with respect to a car purchase and then, we, at our own end, will have to liaise with the bank to confirm the payment.
“As soon as we get confirmation from the bank, we issue a receipt. In this case, I was called by Joe Agi. I then went to our accounts department to confirm the payment.
“When he (Joe Agi) called, he said the transfer has been made. And I asked him what name should I look for to confirm the transfer. He said Joe Agi & Associates.
“When we checked, we confirmed that the transfer was made from Joe Agi and Associate’s account into Coscharis’ Zenith Bank account. I then issued a receipt in respect of the transaction in the name of Ademide Ademola.”

The witness added that after the payment was confirmed, the car was delivered to Ademide at 16 Babatunde Anjous Avenue in Lekki, Phase 1, Lagos.
“After receipt is issued with delivery note, a driver and the sales person will have to convey the car to the owner. In this case, the car was delivered to 16, Babatunde Anjous Avenue in Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.
“I went with the driver to deliver the car. I met Ademide. He was around with some friends. He inspected the car. He confirmed it was OK and signed.”
Jegede later tendered the invoice and receipt, dated January 5, 2015 including some documents marked delivery note and checklist.
Trial judge, Justice Jude Okeke admitted the documents and marked them “Exhibit A.”
Ofonagolu said she knew about the case when she appeared before the Department of State Service on December 2, 2016 for questioning following an earlier invitation by the security agency.

The Nation

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