A fresh bid by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to arraign Fred Ajudua before a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja for a $8.39m scam, was postponed due to the failure of the accused to appear in court.
Ajudua’s counsel, Richard Ahoharuogba, told the court Monday that his client only became aware of the fresh 13-count charge on Saturday and could not attend the court session because “he is still seriously ill.”
Following his request for the adjournment of the case to enable Ajudua appear in court, Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye postponed the matter till February 12, 2004.
Ipaye 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 accused is charged with offences that border 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, Ishaya Bamaiyi, a retired lieutenant general, of about $8.395million while in detention at the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons, 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), Hamabon William and one Kenneth.
Atteh told the court that Ajudua and his accomplices fraudulently collected the money from Bamaiyi in instalments, claiming that the payments represented the professional fees charged by Afe Babalola, to handle his case in court and facilitate his release from prison.
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, he 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 and one 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.