The trial of a suspected serial fraudster, Fred Ajudua, who was charged with a $8.4 million fraud before Justice Josephine Oyefeso of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, was on Tuesday stalled due to his absence in court.
Mr. Ajudua is facing trial for allegedly defrauding a former Chief of Army Staff, Ishaya Bamaiyi, of the sum of $8.4 million, while they were both in custody in Kirikiri Prisons, Lagos in 2004.
Mr. Ajudua, together with his accomplices, had allegedly approached Mr. Bamaiyi and convinced him that he could secure his freedom and also secure legal services on his behalf.
At Tuesday’s sitting, counsel to Mr. Ajudua, Allen Agbaka, told the court about the current medical status of Mr. Ajudua and also sought adjournment of the proceedings.
In his address, Mr. Agbaka stated that Ajudua was “evacuated to India on February 8, 2018 for urgent medical attention”, following a referral to Ruby Hall Clinic, India for surgery.
Mr. Agbaka further added that the defendant had written a letter to the court and attached his international passport, Visa documents, medical reports from Ruby Hall Clinic, India as well as photographs showing him on hospital bed in India.
Mr. Ajudua’s lawyer, who said copies of the documents had been served on the prosecution counsel, S.K.Atteh, urged the court to adjourn the case for three to six months or sine die.
However, in his response, the prosecution counsel, Mr. Atteh, told the court that the medical challenges of the defendant had delayed the commencement of the trial.
He, therefore, prayed the court to try the defendant in absentia, “since the matter has been long in court.”
Justice Oyefeso adjourned the case to May 23 and 28 for the commencement of trial and also ordered the defendant to be present in court at the next adjourned date.