Ajudua Trial Resumes, Faces Fresh Arraignment On February 5
He will be arraigned before Justice Kudirat Jose of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja who has been assigned the case following the withdrawal of the former trial judge, Justice Olubunmi Oyewole.
Justice Oyewole’s withdrawal may not be unconnected with a petition written to the Economic and Financial Commission, EFCC, by a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi (Rtd).
In the petition, Lt.-Gen. Bamaiyi alleged that Ajudua and some others, swindled him of $8.395m on the pretext of helping him to secure his release from the Kirikiri Maximum Prison where he was remanded between November 2004 and June 2005.
The anti-graft agency also alleged that Ajudua and the others, who are said to be at large, had fraudulently claimed that $1m out of the total money collected from Bamaiyi was for financial assistance for the treatment of Justice Oyewole’s father.
Back in 2003, the EFCC had arraigned Ajudua and one other person before Justice Oyewole for allegedly defrauding two Dutch business men of about $1.69m between July 1999 and September 2000.
The prosecution had already called six witnesses in proof of the case against him before Ajudua absconded from trial in 2005. After a bench warrant was issued for his arrest, he voluntarily reappeared in 2013 and this time Justice Oyewole denied him bail.
He was eventually granted bail by the vacation judge, Justice Ganiyu Safari, and had not attended his trial before Justice Oyewole withdrew from the case.
The matter, which was then reassigned to Justice Jose, was fixed for re-arraignment today (January 28) but the proceedings were stalled owing to the absence of the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Wemimo Ogunde, and the second accused person in court. Ajudua and his counsel, Mr. Olalekan Ojo, were however present.
Channels Television’s Judiciary Correspondent, Shola Soyele, reports that another Lagos High Court judge, Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye has also fixed February 12 for the arraignment of Ajudua based on Bamaiyi’s petition to the EFCC.
A 13 count charge of fraud and conspiracy has already been made against Ajudua.