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    Tuesday, January 28, 2014

    Ajudua’s 10-year-old Fraud Case To Start Afresh

    The trial of Fred Ajudua for alleged $1.69million fraud charges, which started in 2003, is to begin afresh before another judge of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja.
    The matter is to start afresh before Justice Kudirat Jose following the withdrawal of the former trial judge, Justice Olubunmi Oyewole, from the case.
    Oyewole’s withdrawal from the case was said to be in connection with a petition written to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission by a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi (retd.), alleging that Ajudua used the names of the judge and others to defraud him of about $8.395million.

    EFCC had in 2003 arraigned Ajudua and his co-accused, Charles Hijiudu, before Justice Oyewole for allegedly defrauding two Dutch businessmen – Mr. Remy Cina and Pierre Vijgen – of about $1.69million between July 1999 and September 2000.

    The prosecution had already called six witnesses before the accused allegedly absconded from trial in 2005.
    He reappeared in 2013 asking for bail. Oyewole refused the fresh bail application.
    But the accused was eventually granted bail by another judge, Justice Ganiyu Safari, when the court was on vacation last year.

    He had not attended the main trial before Justice Oyewole after he was granted bail up till when the judge recently withdrew from the case.

    The matter, after it was reassigned to Justice Jose, was fixed for re-arraignment on Tuesday, but the proceedings were stalled due to the absence of the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Wemimo Ogunde (SAN), and the second accused person in court.

    Both Ajudua and his counsel, Mr. Olalekan Ojo, were present in court.
    It was learnt during the proceedings that those who were absent were not served with the hearing notices.
    The court then fixed February 5 for the re-arraignment.

    Meanwhile, Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of the Lagos High Court in Ikeja, has also fixed February 12 for the arraignment of Ajudua based on Bamaiyi’s petition to EFCC.
    He is to be arraigned on 13 counts of fraud and conspiracy.

    Bamaiyi had in his petition alleged that Ajudua, along with others, swindled him of $8.395million on the pretext of helping him to secure his release from the Kirikiri Maximum Prison between November 2004 and June 2005.
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