THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday re-arraigned Lagos Socialite and businessman, Fred Ajudua for allegedly defrauding a former Chief of Army Staff, retired Lt-Gen Ishaya Bamaiyi of $10.3 million.
Ajudua who plead not guilty to a twenty eight count charge, was re-arraigned after the EFCC amended the charges for the alleged crimes which he committed in 2004 while he was incarcerated in Kirikiri Prisons.
Ajudua’s alleged accomplices are: Mrs Oluronke Rosulu, who is currently serving a 10-year jail term, Alumile Adedeji also known as Ade Bendel, Mr Kenneth, Mr Jonathan and Princess Hamabon William.
Ajudua, was arraigned after Justice Josephine Oyefeso had in a ruling dismissed Ajudua’s application dated Jan 6 challenging the jurisdiction of the court to try him.
According to the EFCC prosecutor, S.A. Atteh, Ajudua, who was in custody at the Kirikiri Prisons for a fraud related offence, had approached Bamaiyi, who was facing trial for the attempted murder of Mr Alex Ibru, the late publisher of the Guardian Newspaper.
Ajudua had allegedly convinced the General that he could help to secure his freedom and secure legal services on his behalf.
“Ajudua received 10.3million dollars as well as N2 million from Bamaiyi on 23 occasions under the guise that the money was the legal fees for the law firm of Chief Afe Babalola and Co which was false,” Atteh said.
According to the anti-graft agency, the money ranging from $3,500 to $1.5 million, was given to Ajudua and his accomplices on Bamaiyi’s behalf through ASP Abdullahi Garba, a prison officer, Mr Garba Tagda, Mr Danladi Yaro, Lt-Col Timothy Chechet and Mrs Martha Bamaiyi.
After Ajudua’s plea was taken, Atteh requested that he should be remanded in prison.
“In view of the plea of the defendant, we shall be asking for a trial date and we request that the defendant be remanded in prison custody,” the prosecutor said.
Ajudua’s counsel, Mr Norrison Quakers (SAN), however, objected to the prosecution’s request for remand.
“In view of the arraignment of the defendant, we ask that the defendant be granted bail.
“The defendant has always been physically present in court despite his health challenges and he sometimes gets to court at 8am or 8.15am before his lawyers.
“He has shown commitment to this trial, I ask that the bail granted to the defendant by the Court of Appeal to continue,” Quakers said.
Justice Oyefeso acceded to Norrison’s request and granted bail to Ajudua on the subsisting bail conditions granted to him by the Court of Appeal.
“The Court of Appeal granted bail to the defendant on Nov 14, 2014, the defendant has faithfully attended trial and I hereby grant bail to the defendant,” Oyefeso said.
The case was adjourned until July 12 and 13 for trial.