Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja, has postponed a fresh bid by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to arraign Mr. Fred Ajudua for an $8.39m scam. Ajudua will now be arraigned on February 12, 2014 on a fresh 13-count charge that borders on conspiracy and obtaining money by false pretence.
EFCC counsel, Seidu Atteh, told the court that Ajudua, (alongside others who are still at large) defrauded a former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Ishaya Bamaiyi (retd) of about $8.395 million while in detention at the Kirikiri Maximum Prison, Lagos between November 2004 and June 2005.
Other suspects involved in the scam and who are on the run are Alumile Adedeji(a.k.a Ade Bendel), Princess Hamabon William and one Mr. Kenneth.
Ajudua and Charles Orie are already facing trial at the Lagos High Court for allegedly defrauding two Dutch businessmen, Remy Cina and Pierre Vijgen of $1.69million.
Atteh told the court that Ajudua and his accomplices, fraudulently collected the money from Bamaiyi in installments, claiming that the payments represented the professional fees charged by Chief Afe Babalola, SAN, to handle Bamaiyi’s case in court and facilitate his release from prison.
Besides, Ajudua claimed that $1million out of the money collected from Bamaiyi would be used to assist Justice Olubunmi Oyewole offset the payment of the hospital bill of his father who, Ajudua falsely claimed, was on admission at the Saint Nicholas Hospital in Lagos, for an undisclosed ailment.
Justice Oyewole was presiding over Bamaiyi’s case in court at the time.
Ajudua’s counsel, Richard Ahoharuogba told the court that his client only became aware of the matter on Saturday and could not attend the court session because “he is still seriously ill”. He then sought an adjournment to enable Ajudua appear in court.
Justice Ipaye adjourned the matter till February 12, 2014 for arraignment and ordered that a warrant of production be served on the prison authority where Ajudua is being detained to enable him appear at the next adjourned date.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, told a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja that it had filed an appeal at the Supreme Court against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division striking out the theft charge instituted against a former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Fin Bank Plc, (now First City Monument Bank), Mr. Okey Nwosu.
The Court of Appeals, Lagos Division, had on November 21, 2013 struck out the theft charge preferred against the former banker. The court ruled that the Lagos High Court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the charges because they emanated from capital market transactions. According to the court, such transactions should be handled by the Federal High Court.
Following the ruling, three former directors of the bank, Dayo Famoroti; Danjuma Ocholi and Agnes Ebubedike, who were charged alongside Nwosu approached the Lagos High Court to dismiss the charges preferred against them based on the judgment of the appellate court.
But counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Jacob, SAN, prayed the court to adjourn the matter indefinitely pending the determination of its appeal at the apex court.
Justice Okunnu upheld the prayers of Jacob and adjourned the matter sine die to allow the Supreme Court rule on the matter.
It would be recalled that Okey Nwosu was arraigned alongside Dayo Famoroti, Danjuma Ocholi, Agnes Ebubedike, on a 26-count charge bordering on stealing and illegal conversion of N19. 2 billion belonging to the bank.