You must face trial for N1 billion fraud, judge tells Fred Ajudua

The EFCC is prosecuting Mr. Ajudua, 52, on a 14-count charge bordering on obtaining $6 million.

Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja, Monday, dismissed applications by alleged fraudster, Fred Ajudua, seeking to quash the charges against him and stating that the court
lacked the jurisdiction to try him.

The judge said that the Court of Appeal “found not merit in a similar argument” before it.

On the call by Mr. Ajudua for the “possible prosecution” of Ishaya Bamaiyi, a former Chief of Army Staff, the judge stated that a court of law deals with hard facts and not sentiments.

“This notice of objection is hereby dismissed in its entirety,” said Mrs. Ipaye.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is prosecuting Mr. Ajudua, 52, on a 14-count charge bordering on obtaining $6 million (about N1 billion) from Ishaya Bamaiyi, a former Chief of Army Staff, under false pretences.

The judge also noted that efforts by EFCC operatives to obtain statements from Mr. Ajudua at the Kirikiri Prison, where he is in custody, met with a brickwall.

According to the commission, EFCC agents had gone to the prison thrice – 13th, 17th, and 21st June 2013 – to interview Mr. Ajudua, who declined to speak to them.

“The court notes that the applicant had exercised his rights not to make statements,” Mrs. Ipaye said on Monday.
Ajudua 2
‘Ploy to delay arraignment’

After the judge’s ruling, Olalekan Ojo, Mr. Ajudua’s lawyer, proceeded to make more applications before the judge, a move the prosecution said was a “ploy to delay the arraignment.”

Mr. Ojo said that his client would seek a date for his arraignment.

“The reason is in the ruling just delivered. The bulk of our challenge is the fact that the defendant was brought to court over a repealed law. And your lordship rightfully overruled us.

“The defendant will consider the nature of his plea, whether to plead guilty or otherwise,” said Mr. Ojo.

“There are other formal defects to the charge as constituted and objections to these other grounds could not have been taken together with the objections forming the basis of my lord’s ruling,” Mr. Ojo
said.

The defence lawyer stated that counts 2 to 14 of the 14-count charge against his client are “duplicitous” and urged the court to adjourn the arraignment.

“Any objection to a formal defect in a charge must be taken before the plea otherwise the objection will be deemed to have been waived. The accused person cannot complain later about irregularity of the
application,” Mr. Ojo added.

The defence also based its call for an adjournment of the arraignment on the premise that his client had not seen the charges filed against him.

“This is an originating process that must be served on the defendant personally,” Mr. Ojo added.

Earlier, Seidu Atteh, counsel to the EFCC, had said that the process was served, at a sitting last December, to one Richard Ahuonaruogho, who was representing Mr. Ajudua and who collected it on his behalf.

The judge said that service of processes is fundamental to the assumption of jurisdiction, noting that Mr. Ajudua needed to familiarize himself with the charges before him

She adjourned arraignment till March 11.


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