Court Frees Ajudua On Case Involving Dutch Men

Fred Ajudua.A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja on Wednesday freed one time Lagos Socialite & business man, Fred Ajudua, on charges of defrauding two Dutch businessmen of $1.69 million.

Ajudua was brought before the court by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2003 and was standing trial alongside one Alex Okorie.

The EFCC had alleged that the defendants deceived the victims by claiming that the money was for sundry payments to various government officials.

The EFCC further alleged that the defendants claimed that the payments would help them to facilitate a contract worth $18 million on behalf of the complainants.

The matter had suffered a series of adjournments owing to the failure of the EFCC to produce some key foreign witnesses in the matter.

While the matter lasted, Ajudua, who is said to have been critically ill, was refused bail by the court.

At Wednesday’s proceeding, the EFCC again failed to produce any of the foreign witnesses in the matter.

Counsel to the EFCC, Mrs E.A Sanusi, told the court that some of the principal witnesses in the matter had vehemently refused to come to Nigerian to give evidence in the matter citing the recent outbreak of Ebola in the country.

She said that in the circumstance, the EFCC had no other option but to ask for the withdrawal of the charge.

Following this submission, Justice Kudirat Ajose subsequently ordered that Ajudua be discharged of the charges.

However, Mr Ajudua cannot go home yet, as he has been returned to prison,  because of another charge of allegedly defrauding Former Chief of Army Staff, Gen Ishaya Bamaiyi, of $8.4m while they were both in custody at Kirikiri Prison in Lagos between November 2004 and June 2005, is still pending before Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of the same Lagos court.

That charge is pending before Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye and Mr Ajudua is currently at the Court of appeal challenging the refusal of the judge to grant him bail on those charges.

$1.69million Scam: Court Awaits Decision On Ajudua’s Appeal

FRED AJIDUAA Lagos High Court has suspended further hearing in the $1.69million scam case involving suspected serial fraudster, Fred Ajudua, till September 24, 2014, to allow for the determination of the accused person’s appeal, challenging the court’s refusal of his bail application.

Ajudua is asking the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division to upturn Justice Jose’s decision to refuse him bail.

In the notice of appeal, he insisted that he needed urgent medical attention that would not be possible while in prison.

He contended that the lower court was biased in not granting his bail application.

At the resumed hearing of the case presided over by Justice Kudirat Jose of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja, on Friday, EFCC counsel, Oluwemimo Ogunde, argued on point of law against the ruling of Justice Jose at the last court sitting on May 23, ordering the EFCC to call witnesses in the ongoing trial of Ajudua, despite the pending application by the defence for stay of proceedings in view of its application before the appellate court.

Ogunde stated that, the position of law concerning the lower court in a matter that has a pending application before a higher court was that, when “an application is before a higher court, a lower court cannot silence a higher court and continue trial”.

But Ajudua’s counsel, Olalekan Ojo, argued that the court cannot overrule itself.

However, Ogunde countered that, “the prosecution is not here to argue if the court should overrule itself, neither are we here to argue the merit of the application but the position of the law. But if the court insists on the previous ruling, we will go ahead and call our witnesses and our witnesses are coming from abroad and it will be a waste of tax payers’ money to bring these witnesses only to discover that they are not needed”.

After listening to the submissions of counsel, Justice Jose then ruled that trial would continue on September 24 and October 2, 2014, after the Court of Appeal would have taken a position on the application before it.

Ajudua and Charles Ovie are standing trial before Justice Jose for allegedly defrauding two Dutch businessmen of $1.69m.