$8.39m Fraud: Ajudua loses Appeal Against Trial

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Mr. Fred Ajudua

By Adetokunbo Fakeye

Alleged serial fraudster, Fred Ajudua today(Friday) lost his bid to stop his trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over allegations of defrauding a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Ishaya Bamaiyi of about $8.39million between November 2004 and June 2005.

According to a statement by EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal today dismissed Ajudua’s application challenging the competence of the charge and the jurisdiction of the Lagos High Court.

Ajudua, who was arraigned before Justice Atinuke Ipaye of the Lagos High Court on a 14-count charge that borders on obtaining by false pretence, had filed notice of preliminary objection in which he stated that the proof of evidence did not disclose any case against him. Justice Ipaye dismissed the Objection. Dissatisfied, Ajudua subsequently appeal against the decision of the trial court.

At the hearing of the appeal he filed against the ruling of the Lagos State High Court dismissing his application asking the court to decline jurisdiction to entertain the charge, Ajudua contended that the lower court erred in law when it held that he could be tried under the repealed Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 1995.

Ajudua’s counsel, Olalekan Ojo, submitted in the Appellant’s Brief of Argument and Appellant’s Reply Brief of Argument dated May 13 and June 11 respectively, that at the time Bamaiyi petitioned the EFCC over the alleged offence in 2006, the law upon which the 14-count charge was framed was no longer in existence.

Maintaining that the proof of evidence did not support the charge, Ojo said: “The information as constituted at the lower court is procedurally and substantively incompetent.”
But in a unanimous ruling today, July 18, 2014 the Court of Appeal affirmed the decision of the trial court that the charge was competent.

Ajudua is alleged to have fraudulently collected a total sum of $8.39million( Eight Million, Three Hundred and Ninety Thousand United States Dollars) from General Bamaiyi(rtd)) in instalments, by falsely claiming that the payments represented the professional fees charged by Chief Afe Babatola, SAN, to handle Bamaiyi’s case in court and to facilitate his release from prison.

The accused is also standing trial, alongside CharlesOvie, before ‎Justice Kudirat Jose of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja for allegedly defrauding two Dutch businessmen of $1.69m. Further hearing in this case was on June 6, 2014 suspended till September 24, 2014, pending the outcome of today’s ruling by the Court of Appeal.

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