Alleged $8.3million Fraud: Appeal Court Reserves Judgments On Ajudua

AjuduaThe Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, has reserved judgments in two separate appeals filed by a business man and one time socialite, Mr Fred Ajudua.

Mr Ajudua is challenging the ruling of Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of a Lagos High Court in Ikeja which refused his bail application.

Justice Ipaye had refused bail in a suit filed by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC on allegations of defrauding former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi (rtd.) of about $8.395 million.

While refusing Ajudua’s bail application, Justice Ipaye had made reference to Ajudua’s antecedents in separate criminal matters before another Lagos State High Court where the defendant not only jumped bail but also allegedly interfered with the court process.

Dissatisfied, Ajudua appealed against the ruling and urged the appellate court to set it aside.

The appeal court reserved judgement following the adoption of brief of arguments by Ajudua’s counsel, Mr. Olalekan Ojo and that of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, (EFCC), Mr. Saidu Atteh.

Adopting his brief of argument, Ajudua’s lawyer formulated four issues for determination and urged the court to determine whether the lower court was right when it refused to admit the appellant on bail despite his heath condition.

Ojo maintained that the facilities at the Kirikiri Maximum Prison are grossly inadequate and cannot take care of Ajudua’s health.

Besides, he argued that because of the peculiar and complicated nature of Ajudua’s ailment, he requires specialist with hi-tech medical equipment to manage his health effectively.

In his response, lawyer to the EFCC, Saidu Atteh, submitted that the medical needs of Mr Ajudua can be taken care of where he is detained and that should the need arise, the EFCC was prepared to provide medical services for him within the jurisdiction of the court.

Justice Rita Pemu also reserved judgement in a separate appeal filed by Ajudua on the refusal of the lower court to allow him make extra-judicial statement in response to the allegations levelled against him.

On the issue of some extra-judicial statement, Ojo argued that it is the duty of court in all cases particularly in criminal cases and where the liberty of the accused is at stake to ensure that justice is done.

He urged the court to allow his appeal and set aside the ruling of the lower court.

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.

Ajudua Trial Resumes, Faces Fresh Arraignment On February 5

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.