The 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.
The 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.
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.
A former Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Anambra State, Prince Okay Aroh and a former banker with United Bank for Africa, Abimbola Oluwaniyi, were on Thursday, May 15, 2014 arraigned before Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja on a 6- count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing, forgery and uttering to the tune of N265million (Two Hundred and Sixty Five Million Naira).
The former Commissioner and his accomplice ran into trouble, when a petitioner wrote to the EFCC alleging that, in 2009, he deposited N265, 000,000.00 (Two Hundred and Sixty Five Million Naira) in a fixed deposit account with the United Bank for Africa, through the defendants, only for him to discover in 2012, upon maturity of his deposit, that the investment was non-existent in the bank’s record.
Okay was Branch Manager of UBA, Idumota 2 Business Office at the time the transaction took place.
One of the charges read: “Prince Okay Aroh and Abimbola Oluwaniyi between August 2008 and December, 2009 at Lagos within the Ikeja Judicial Division, whilst being the Branch Manager and Relationships Officer respectively of Oke Arin 2 branch of United Bank for Africa Plc stole the sum of N108M (One Hundred and Eight Million Naira) property of United Bank for Africa Plc”.
When the charges were read to the defendants, they pleaded not guilty.
In view of the plea of the defendants, prosecuting counsel, George Adebola, prayed the court to fix a date for trial and to remand them in prison custody.
Counsel to the 1st defendant, Vincent Nwana, objected the plea of the prosecuting counsel and prayed the court to grant his client bail on liberal terms. He informed the court that the 1st defendant had already made an agreement for payment. “My Lord, the 1st defendant has shown that he will not jump bail, he has good sureties in court who are ready to show up at any time”, he said.
In the same vein, counsel to the 2nd defendant, Nonye Anyaegbunam, prayed the court to grant the defendant bail on the grounds that she only carried out duties as instructed by the 1st defendant.
Justice Ipaye granted the 1st defendant bail in the sum of N5million and two sureties with a security of N2 million (Two Million Naira only). One of the sureties should be a relation of the defendants. The sureties shall be residents of Lagos State and shall provide evidence of tax payments for three years.
The second defendant was also granted bail in the sum of N2million (Two Million Naira only) and two sureties in like sum. The sureties must present evidence of tax payments.
Justice Ipaye adjourned the case to July 3, 8 and 11, 2014 for trial and ordered that the defendants be remanded in Kirikiri Maximum Prison pending the perfection of their bail conditions.
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.
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.
Alleged serial fraudster, Fred Ajudua, is to face a fresh arraignment on February 5, 2014, more than ten years after he was first arraigned in 2003 for fraud charges totalling about $1.69m.
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.