Alleged $1m Fraud: EFCC Re-Arraigns Fred Ajudua

Fred Ajudua

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has re-arraigned alleged fraudster, Fred Ajudua, on a 10-count charge of defrauding a German, Zaid Abu Zalaf of the $1million.

At the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, the Lagos State capital, Mr Ajudua pleaded not guilty to the charges bordering on conspiracy, obtaining by false pretences and forging of documents.

Presiding Justice Mojisola Dada also dismissed an application brought by Ajudua’s counsel, Mr Olalekan Ojo, asking the court to recuse itself from the case on grounds of likelihood of bias.

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The judge held that three petitions written by the defendant on the issue in the past had exonerated her as she had been given a clean bill by the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the National Judicial Council (NJC).

The court subsequently took the testimony of the German on how he was allegedly defrauded and adjourned till Thursday, December 6 (today) for cross-examination of the witness.

Ajudua’s Trial: How I Was Defrauded Of $8.4m – Bamaiyi

Ajudua’s Trial: How I Was Defrauded Of $8.4m – Bamaiyi

 

A former Chief of Army Staff, General Ishaya Bamaiyi, has told a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja how an alleged fraudster, Fred Ajudua, collected millions of dollars from him totalling about $8.4m.

At the resumed trial on Monday, General Bamaiyi told Justice Josephine Oyefeso that Ajudua obtained the money from him in 25 tranches, while purporting to be acting on behalf of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Afe Babalola.

The money, according to Bamaiyi, was meant to be part payment for professional fees allegedly charged by the legal icon to handle his trial for the attempted murder of the late publisher of The Guardian, Mr Alex Ibru, and two others.

He explained that he met Ajudua and one Alumile Adedeji popularly known as Ade Bendel at Kirikiri Maximum Prison between November 2004 and June 2005.

Apart from collecting money from him personally, the former Army chief said Ajudua collected money from his wife, member of his staff and even his friends, all for the purpose of hiring Mr Babalola for his legal representation.

He said, “Anytime money was released by me or any of my staff, I recorded them in my diary. In 2004, he (Ajudua) collected money six times and in 2005, he collected money 19 times.

“Anytime money was released both in the hospital and out of the hospital, he would call me on phone to confirm.

“There was a time I was worried, and I demanded to meet Chief Afe Babalola. Ajudua was on bail then for fraud-related offences. Then, one Barrister Richard Oma came and met me in prison.

“He claimed to come from the Chambers of Chief Afe Babalola. But to my surprise, he did not come with any letter from Chief Afe Babalola’s chambers.”

“Also, one man named Kenneth came to me in prison and he claimed to be from the Department of State Security Services. He said he came from General Aliyu Gusau, the then National Security Adviser.

“He said Gusau and Obasanjo had met, and they discussed my issue and they want to be assured that I will not cause trouble if I’m released from the custody.

“I told him I had no problem with the president. He told me to write an undertaken that I will not cause trouble if released. I told him I’ll not write any undertaken,” Bamaiyi said.

The former Chief of Army Staff went on to narrate how the money was paid in about 25 tranches totalling $8.4m.

He said, “On November 22, 2004, in the presence of one ACP Garba, I gave the sum of $20,000 to one Jonathan who was the personal assistant of the Ajudua.

“On November 30, my wife Imuade, brought $400,000 and I counted the money and Jonathan, his boy, went away with the money. “

“On December 4, 2004, the defendant’s boy came with somebody who said he was an orderly of Justice Olubunmi Oyewole and the sum of $1.5 million was counted before it was handed to Jonathan.

“On December 16, 2004, my ADC Chechet, a Major, brought me $1million and gave the money to the defendant in my visitor waiting room.

“At about 6pm, the defendant called me and told me that his wife was in the house of then Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ade Alabi, waiting for Chief Afe Babalola.

“He called his wife to confirm and at about 11pm, the defendant called to tell me that Chief Afe Babalola had collected the money.

“Sometimes on December 27, 2004, one of my associates brought in $350,000 which was given to the defendant. His boy, Jonathan, also collected $600,000 on January 15, 2005,” the general testified.

He further told the court that he raised the various funds from the proceeds of the sale of his properties in Victoria Island, Dolphin Estate, Yaba, and Lekki, all in Lagos.

He added that he sold his landed properties in Kaduna as well as proceeds from his farm which he had been engaged in since 1994.

“I was posted to Lagos in 1996,” Bamaiyi said, adding, “During the period I was able to acquire properties in Sanusi Fafunwa in Victoria Island which was allocated to me by the Lagos State government.”

“I sold it as well as my property in Dolphin Estate. I also had a duplex at Tajudeen Olanrewaju Estate, Tabatha which I sold. This is part of how I raised the funds.”

The court thereafter adjourned till December 20 for the continuation of trial.

Alleged Fraud: Court Turns Down Fred Ajudua’s Bail Application

 

A Special Offences Court sitting in the Ikeja area of Lagos has turned down the bail application of an alleged serial fraudster and lawyer, Fred Ajudua.

Justice Mojisola Dada in her ruling on the bail application on Thursday ordered that Ajudua be transferred from Ikoyi to Kirikiri Prison where he was earlier remanded pending the ruling.

Ajudua will remain at the Kirikiri Prison, Lagos until the conclusion of his trial.

The judge said she was convinced that granting Ajudua bail would further truncate his trial which has suffered a series of setbacks since his first arraignment on March 5, 2009, before her another judge, Justice Oyefeso.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had re-arraigned Mr Ajudua before Justice Dada following the re-assignment of the case file by the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Opeyemi Oke.

The Chief Judge re-assigned it to the Special Court for accelerated hearing.

Ajudua was alleged to have defrauded one Ziad Abu Zalaf of Technical International Limited, a German-based firm of one million dollars.

The EFCC alleged that the accused and his accomplice, Joseph Ochunor, had in 1993 carried out the act by forging some Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) receipts.

Ajudua, however, pleaded not guilty to the12 charges bordering on conspiracy and fraud.

Alleged $8.4m Fraud: Ajudua’s Absence In Court Stalls Trial Again

File photo

 

The trial of a suspected serial fraudster Fred Ajudua at the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos was stalled on Tuesday due to his absence in court.

According to a statement by the spokesman for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Wilson Uwujaren, he was charged with $8.4million fraud before Justice Josephine Oyefeso of the same court.

Ajudua is facing trial for allegedly defrauding a former Chief of Army Staff, retired Lieutenant General Ishaya Bamaiyi, of $8.4m while they were both in custody in Kirikiri Prisons, Lagos in 2004.

The defendant, together with his accomplices, had allegedly approached Bamaiyi and convinced him that he could secure his freedom and also secure legal services on his behalf.

At Tuesday’s sitting, counsel to Ajudua, Allen Agbaka, told the court about the current medical status of Ajudua and also sought an adjournment of the proceedings.

In his address, Agbaka stated that Ajudua was “evacuated to India on February 8, 2018, for urgent medical attention”, following a referral to Ruby Hall Clinic, India for surgery.

The counsel added that the defendant had written a letter to the court and attached his international passport, visa documents, and medical reports from Ruby Hall Clinic, India as well as photographs showing him on a hospital bed in India.

Ajudua’s lawyer, who said copies of the documents had been served on the prosecution counsel, S.K. Atteh, urged the court to adjourn the case for three to six months or sine die.

In his response, the prosecution counsel, however, told the court that the medical challenges of the defendant had delayed the commencement of the trial.

He, therefore, prayed the court to try the defendant in absentia, “since the matter has been long in court.”

Justice Oyefeso adjourned the case till May 23 and 28, 2018 for the commencement of trial.

She also ordered the defendant to be present in court at the next adjourned date.

EFCC Re-Arraigns Fred Ajudua On 28-Count Charge

Fred Ajudua, EFCCThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has re-arraigned alleged fraudster, Fred Ajudua, before Justice Kudirat Jose of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja on a 28-count charge bordering on conspiracy and obtaining by false pretence.

The anti-graft re-arraigned him over an allegation that he defrauded former Chief of Army Staff Lt. Col. Ishaya Bamaiyi in 2004 while they were at both remanded at the Kirikiri Prisons.

The offense is contrary to Section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 13 of 1995 as amended by Act No. 62 of 1999.

When the charges were read to him, the defendant pleaded “not guilty” and the counsel to the EFCC, Saidu Ateh proceeded to ask the court for a trial date.

But the counsel to the defendant, Norrison Quakers (SAN) urged Justice Jose to be bound by the decision of the Court of Appeal granting the defendant bail.

Justice Jose asked the counsel to file a new application for bail to be heard on the next adjourned date.

The matter was adjourned to September 15, 2016 for trial.

The matter was initially before Justice Atinuke Ipaye and was later transferred to Justice Kudirat Jose after Ajudua’s co-defendant, the former registrar of the court, Olorunke Idowu Rosulu opted for separate trial.

Rosulu had since been jailed for 10 years over the allegations.

Court Jails Former Registrar For Duping General Bamaiyi

CourtThe Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has sentenced a former registrar of the court to 10 years imprisonment for defrauding a former Chief of Army Staff, General Ishaya Bamaiyi (Rtd).

The convict, Mrs Oluronke Rosulu was a former registrar to Justice Joseph Oyewole who is presently a judge of the Court of Appeal.

She was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a two-count charge of conspiracy and obtaining money under false pretences.

The commission put the amount at 8.4 million Dollars.

During the trial, the EFCC presented evidence of a polygraph test administered on the convict by polygraph experts from the commission’s Internal Affairs Department.

The EFCC said that it was the first time a polygraph evidence would be admitted in a criminal trial in Nigeria.

The former registrar was initially charged alongside a Lagos socialite, Fred Ajudua, before Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of the same court for defrauding General Bamaiyi of the said amount of money while he was detained in Kirikiri Maximum Prison on charges of the attempted murder of the late Publisher of Guardian Newspapers, Chief Alex Ibru.

She was specifically said to have aided Ajudua to defraud Bamaiyi of the said sum under the false pretence that it was a part payment for the professional fees purportedly charged by Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) to handle his case, while both of them were being remanded at Kirikiri Maximum Prison between November 2004 and June 2005.

Mrs Rosulu opted for a separate trial and was arraigned before Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo on April 20, 2015.

In his judgment on Monday, Justice Lawal-Akapo held that the prosecution successfully proved the charges against the accused person as some incriminating documents linking her with Ajudua were found in her house after a search was conducted, which was contrary to her testimony that she had no dealings with him.

The court also held that it believed the evidence of a prosecution witness, ACP Garuba Abdullahi, who testified that the accused visited Ajudua in prison three times.

The former court registrar’s defence of alibi did not succeed as she failed to lead evidence on where she was instead of her denying to have visited the prison.

The judge sentenced the accused to 10 years each on both counts of conspiracy and obtaining money under false pretences, ruling that the sentences would run concurrently.

$8.4m Fraud: Appeal Court Grants Ajudua Bail

Fred Ajudua.The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos has set aside the ruling of Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja and granted a former Lagos socialite, Fred Ajudua bail to seek medical treatment abroad.

Justice Ipaye had refused Ajudua’s bail application in a suit filed against Ajudua by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) for allegedly defrauding former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi (rtd.) of about $8.4 million.

Dissatisfied, Ajudua through his lawyer, Olalekan Ojo, appealed against the ruling and urged the appellate court to set it aside.

The appellate court in a unanimous judgement delivered by Justice Rita Pemu held that Ajudua could only stand trial if he is alive.

Justice Pemu held that the charge levelled against Ajudua by the EFCC does not attract capital punishment hence its a bailable offence.

The court observed from the medical report presented at the lower court that Ajudua had been a patient at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH for kidney related illness as far back as 1987.

“He was already a sick man at the time the charge was filed against him. The lower court turned a blind eye to the plight of the appellant (Ajudua).

“A man with just one kidney is a walking carcass. Although his reputation is found wanting, he has not been convicted. The court ought to show mercy as a result of his health challenges”, Justice Pemu held.

On the claim by the EFCC that Ajudua will interfere with witnesses, Justice Pemu held that the anti-graft agency failed to show calculated attempt made by appellant to do so.

Consequently, the court granted Ajudua bail in the sum of 10 million Naira with two sureties in like sum.

The sureties must have property worth 50 million Naira in Lagos.

Ajudua is also to sign an undertaking that he would remain in Nigeria throughout his trial unless there was need for him to travel abroad for treatment.

The judgement was unanimously adopted by two other members of the panel namely; Justice CE Iyizoba and Justice JY Tukur respectively.

However, the appellate court dismissed another appeal by Ajudua which borders on the refusal of the lower court to allow him make extra-judicial statement in response to the allegations levelled against him.

Justice Pemu upheld the decision of the lower court on the ground that Ajudua had earlier been given the opportunity to make statements but he chose not to do so.

“It’s appellant’s constitutional right but he chose to waive it. The court cannot teach the Police how to carry out its investigation. The court cannot also force defendant to make statement” Justice Pemu added.

Ajudua had earlier been freed  by a Lagos High Court  on charges brought against him by the EFCC of defrauding two Dutch businessmen of $1.69 million.

 

$8.4m Fraud Charge: Ajudua’s Co-accused Gets Separate Trial

EkitiThe Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has granted a request for a separate trial made by a High Court registrar, Mrs Oluronke Idowu Rosulu, who is accused of aiding Mr. Fred Ajudua to scam a former Army General, Ishaya Bamaiyi, of $8.4 million.

Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye granted Rosulu’s application on the ground that she has a right to a separate hearing.

Mrs Rosulu, through her counsel, had filed an application seeking to separate the charges against her from those of Mr Ajudua.

The registrar who has since been suspended by the Lagos State Judicial Service Commission hinged the application on three grounds bordering on speedy trial. She wants the matter dispensed before her retirement next year.

Ruling on the application which was vehemently opposed by the prosecution counsel, Mr Saidu Atteh and Ajudua’s counsel, Mr Olalekan Ojo, the trial judge said considering the time taken for the eventual arraignment of the 1st defendant (Ajudua) and his various pending applications before the court and Lagos Court of Appeal, it would amount to injustice not to grant the 2nd defendant (Rosulu) a separate trial.

Earlier
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had charged Ajudua to court for allegedly defrauding Bamaiyi of about $8.4million.

The EFCC alleged that Ajudua conspired with others (now at large) to perpetrate the fraud between November 2004 and June 2005.

In the amended charges, Rosulu, a court registrar with Justice Olubunmi Oyewole (now of the Appeal Court) is accused of aiding Mr Ajudua to scam the former military officer.

According to the EFCC, Ajudua funneled the sum of $330,000 through Mrs Rosulu and others to defraud Bamaiyi while they were both on remand at Kirikiri prison in Lagos for separate alleged crimes.

The commission said Ajudua obtained the money from Bamaiyi by claiming that it represented the professional fees charged by Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) to handle his case and also as funds to bribe the judge hearing his case.

Others listed in the scheme include Ademilue Adedeji (aka Ade Bendel), one Mr Jonathan, one Mr Kenneth, and Princess Hamabon William. The other accused suspects are currently fugitives.

$8.39m Fraud: Ajudua Loses Appeal Against Trial

Fred Ajudua

Alleged serial fraudster, Fred Ajudua on Friday lost his bid to stop his trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Nigeria over allegations of defrauding a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Ishaya Bamaiyi of about $8.39 million between November 2004 and June 2005.

The Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal on Friday dismissed Ajudua’s application challenging the competence of the charge and the jurisdiction of the Lagos High Court.

Ajudua, who was arraigned before Justice Atinuke Ipaye of the Lagos High Court on a 14-count charge that borders on obtaining by false pretence, had filed notice of preliminary objection in which he stated that the proof of evidence did not disclose any case against him. Justice Ipaye dismissed the Objection.

Dissatisfied, Ajudua subsequently appealed against the decision of the trial court.

At the hearing of the appeal he filed against the ruling of the Lagos State High Court dismissing his application asking the court to decline jurisdiction to entertain the charge, Ajudua contended that the lower court erred in law when it held that he could be tried under the repealed Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 1995.

Ajudua’s counsel, Olalekan Ojo, submitted in the Appellant’s Brief of Argument and Appellant’s Reply Brief of Argument dated May 13 and June 11 respectively, that at the time Bamaiyi petitioned the EFCC over the alleged offence in 2006, the law upon which the 14-count charge was framed was no longer in existence.

Maintaining that the proof of evidence did not support the charge, Ojo said: “The information as constituted at the lower court is procedurally and substantively incompetent”.

But in a unanimous ruling on Friday the Court of Appeal affirmed the decision of the trial court that the charge was competent.

Ajudua, who is a lawyer, is alleged to have fraudulently collected a total sum of $8.39 million from General Bamaiyi(Rtd) in instalments, by falsely claiming that the payments represented the professional fees charged by Chief Afe Babatola, to handle Bamaiyi’s case in court and to facilitate his release from prison.

The accused is also standing trial, alongside Charles Ovie, before Justice Kudirat Jose of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja for allegedly defrauding two Dutch businessmen of $1.69m.

Further hearing in the case is suspended till September 24, pending the outcome of Friday’s ruling by the Court of Appeal.

 

$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.

Court Rejects Ajudua’s Bail Application

A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has rejected a bail application filed by Mr Fred Ajudua, who is being prosecuted for allegedly defrauding a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi, of $5.9 million.

Trial Judge, Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye dismissed the bail application for lack of merit. Fred Ajudua

In her ruling on the application, Justice Ipaye, held that though the evidence before the court showed that Mr Ajudua was suffering from complicated ailments as a result of having a solitary kidney, that factor alone did not entitle him to bail.

She said Ajudua’s antecedents in a separate criminal matter before another Lagos State High Court revealed that he not only jumped bail but also allegedly interfered with the prosecution’s witness.

In the light of his antecedents and the gravity of the charge, the judge held that the chances of him absconding and jumping bail if granted were high.

After dismissing the bail application, the court adjourned till June 30 for commencement of trial.

Ajudua was charged to court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly conspiring with others (now at large) to perpetrate the fraud between November 2004 and June 2005.

According to the EFCC, the defendant defrauded Lt Gen Ishaya Bamaiyi while they were both on remand at Kirikiri Prison in Lagos for separate offences.

The commission said Mr Ajudua obtained the money from Bamaiyi by claiming that it represented the professional fees charged by Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) to handle his case.

He is also alleged to have claimed that the money would help to facilitate Bamaiyi’s release from prison.

Absence Of EFCC’s Witness Stalls Ajudua’s Trial

Fred AjuduaThe trial of Fred Ajudua on charges of defrauding two Dutch businessmen of 1.69 million dollars could not proceed on Monday at the Lagos High court, Ikeja owing to the absence of the prosecution witness.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC who is prosecuting the case told Presiding Justice Kudirat Jose that some of its witnesses who reside abroad where not in the country because the commission was unsure of how the matter would proceed.

Counsel to the EFCC, Wemimo Ogunde (SAN) informed the court that the defense counsel, Mr Olalekan Ojo had last week Friday, the 25th of April, served the commission with a process for a stay of proceedings.

He said that based on the incident, the EFCC could not extend an invitation to the witnesses to travel down to Nigeria even though the defense team later called to say that the process was served in error.

Mr Ogunde also told the court that the commission was been careful in extending invitation to witnesses because a similar incident had occurred in the past when the witnesses came but the matter did not proceed.

He subsequently asked for a 21 day period to enable the EFCC get the witnesses to attend the trial.

The defense counsel, Mr Olalekan Ojo however opposed the request for a 21 day adjournment, saying that the period was too long to get a witness from abroad.

Mr Ojo also said that it would be wrong for the court to grant such a long adjournment when his client has been refused bail.

He further submitted that the fact that his chamber mistakenly served the EFCC with a wrong process was not enough excuse for the commission not to bring its witnesses to the court.

Justice Jose however overruled the argument and adjourned the matter till May 23 for trial.

BACKGROUND

Ajudua and one Charles Okorie were earlier arraigned before Justice Joseph Oyewole in July 24, 2003 for allegedly defrauding Messrs Remy Cina and Pierre Vijgen between July 30, 1999 and Feb.9, 2000.

The matter was however stalled for almost 10 years as the defendants failed to attend their trial.

The duo was however re-arraigned last month before Justice Kudirat Jose on the same allegations.

At the re arraignment, the EFCC alleged that the defendants conspired to commit the offences between July 30, 1999 and Feb.9, 2000.

The commission also noted that the defendants deceived the victims 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 dollars on behalf of the complainants.

The offences according to the anti- graft agency contravene Sections 1(a) and (b) of the Advance Fee Fraud Act of 1995 as amended by Decree No. 62 of 1999.