Fred Ajudua is being prosecuted for defrauding the former Army chief
An alleged serial fraudster, Fred Ajudua, has urged a Lagos High Court, sitting in Ikeja, to order the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to prosecute Ishaya Bamaiyi, a retired army General, for money laundering.
In an application by Olalekan Ojo, his lawyer, Wednesday, Mr. Ajudua also urged the court to quash the charges the anti-graft agency instituted against him.
Mr. Ojo further prayed the court to declare Section 260(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice of Lagos State Law 2011 null and void and inconsistent with Section 36(6)(b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The General was from his admission and confession in those statements engaged in diverse acts of criminality and whether it is the act of attempting to give gratification to these public officers through his agents or payments exceeding N500,000 in cash,” said Mr. Ojo.
“The law prescribes punishment ranging from minimum of five years imprisonment as can be seen in Sections 8 and 9 of the Anti-Corruption Law and taking the counts outlined in the information for payments made in excess of N500,000, over 100 years imprisonment as can be gleaned from Section 15(1) of the existing Money laundering Act at that time,” he added.
Mr. Ajudua himself was billed to be arraigned on a 14-count of charge of obtaining $6 million (about N1 billion) from Mr. Bamaiyi, Nigeria’s former Chief of Army Staff, under false pretences before Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye. He, and Charles Orie, is also facing trial for defrauding Remy Cina and Pierre Vijgen, two Dutch businessmen, of $1.69 million (N287 million).
Visibly frail of health, the 52-year-old was on Wednesday aided to the dock by two prison officials when his case was called.
Mr. Ojo said that his client cannot be arraigned until the court decides on the applications he filed.
“When a defendant is challenging the jurisdiction of the court by virtue of the alleged incompetence of the charge, the law stipulates that the motion be heard before the plea is taken,” Mr. Ojo said.
“The law has always been that a challenge to the charge must be taken before plea. It has been the unanimous position of the court.
“The law is trite that an application must be heard no matter the perceived weakness or frivolity of that application,” he added.
The judge adjourned the trial till February 27.
Mr. Bamaiyi had written to the EFCC accusing Mr. Ajudua and his accomplices of collecting the money between November 2004 and June 2005 to facilitate his release from prison.
A critical review of Mr. Bamaiyi’s statement to the EFCC, according to Mr. Ojo, established that the money was meant to bribe judicial officers.
“Part of the money was paid to one Chief Richard Oma Ahonaruogho to bribe the Attorney General of Lagos State and to ensure that General Bamaiyi’s case is splited and tried separately.
“The other persons linked to the illicit transaction whose statements were attached to the proof of evidence denied knowledge of the allegation; General Bamaiyi also admitted the unauthorized use of cell phone whilst in detention; no evidence of how the funds moved in and out of the prison.
“No evidence of any of the prison personnel who had knowledge of the movement of the funds apart from a self confessional statement of one of the officers,” Mr. Ojo added.