Update: Why judge sent alleged fraudster, Fred Ajudua, to jail

[Photo: www.cknnigeria.com]

 Ajudua has evaded arrest for seven years.

A Lagos High Court in Ikeja on Thursday ruled that alleged fraudster, Fred Ajudua, would remain in Kirikiri Maximum Prison until the conclusion of his trial.

The trial judge, Olubunmi Oyewole said that he would not restore an earlier bail granted to Mr. Ajudua in 2005 because he was “not persuaded” that Mr. Ajudua would not jump bail.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is accusing Mr. Ajudua of, among other charges, duping Remy Cina and Pierre Vijgen – two Dutch businessmen – of about $1.69 million (N262 million).

“I’m not persuaded that the applicant will present himself if the previous bail is restored, or that he will be within the jurisdiction of this court,” said Mr. Oyewole.

The judge directed the Superintendent of Prisons, Kirikiri, to ensure that Mr. Ajudua is taken to the hospital whenever the need arises. He ruled that “accelerated trial” would commence on July 8 and would continue daily thereafter.

Mr. Ajudua, 52, had sought bail on the grounds of his kidney ailment and that he voluntarily appeared before the court “upon return from India” to continue his trial, although the judge had issued a bench warrant for his arrest seven years ago.

The judge said that Mr. Ajudua’s absence from trial since 2006 was “to evade justice.”

Mr. Ajudua’s bail was revoked in December 2007 and a bench warrant issued.

The judge said that the Medical Director of Grant Medical Foundation- the Indian hospital where Mr. Ajudua was purportedly receiving treatment- Interpol India, as well as the Nigerian High Commission were unable to account for the defendant’s whereabouts while in India.

“These findings remain unchallenged till today,” Mr. Oyewole said. “No reference was made on the exact date he returned to the country. No relevant pages of the passport were made available. The statement that he was within the court’s jurisdiction the day the case came up and he failed to appear supports the prosecution’s claims.”

Mr. Ajudua’s medical report stated that his only good kidney, the left one, has two stones.

The judge said that the report, which emanated from a Consultant Nephrologist, did not mention the size of the (kidney) stone nor were there doctors’ reports from the prison about his health status.

“A medical report must be cogent, concise, and convincing,” Mr. Oyewole said, noting that Mr. Ajudua always reported to his court “looking healthy.”

Mr. Ajudua’s lawyer, Allens Agbaka, had, last Monday, volunteered a personal undertaking to ensure that his client was available throughout his trial. But the judge said that he was not convinced, because the previous lawyer representing the defendant undertook a similar commitment and stopped appearing when the defendant absconded.

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