Fred Ajudua’s Trial Stalled

The trial of businessman, Fred Ajudua over allegations that he defrauded former Chief of Army Staff, General Ishaya Bamaiyi (rtd) of eight point four million dollars was again stalled at a Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, following his new application challenging the power of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to prosecute him.
Mr. Ajudua is being prosecuted by the EFCC for allegedly collecting various sums of money from Mr. Bamaiyi while the duo were in custody at Kirikiri Prison, Lagos.
According to the EFCC, the defendant and his accomplices had approached Mr. Bamaiyi, who was facing trial for the attempted murder of Alex Ibru, the late Publisher of The Guardian newspaper, and convinced him they could secure his freedom.
Ajudua’s co-defendant, Oluronke Rosulu who had opted for separate trial was last year sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by Justice Lawal-Akapo.
Ajudua’s trial was originally before Justice Kudirat Jose but was last year transferred to Justice Oyefeso.
At today’s proceedings, Ajudua who wore white caftan opposed EFCC’s effort to re-arraign him on an amended charge.
Ajudua’s lawyer, Mr. S.A Quakers, SAN told the court that under the administration of criminal justice law, the EFCC has no power to prosecute his client.
Quakers also raised objection against the amended charges stating that his client cannot be arraigned on the new information before the court since the anti-graft agency failed to obtain his witness statement.
EFCC lawyer, Seidu Atteh however countered the argument saying that it was not necessary for the EFCC to obtain statement from defendant simply because the charges were amended.
Atteh pointed out that Ajudua had personally refused to volunteer any statement to the commission over the allegations against him.
In her brief remark, trial judge, Justice Oyefeso insisted that parties should harmonize their arguments instead of presenting them piece-meal.
She adjourned the matter till February 13, 2017 for hearing of argument of both parties.
Barnabas Hunjo

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