BY ABDULWAHAB ABDULAH
Lagos — The absence of a Lagos based lawyer, Mr. Fred Ajudua from court, yesterday, prevented his fresh arraignment before an Ikeja High Court for allegedly defrauding ex- Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Major General Ishaya Bamaiyi of the sum of $8.395m (N1.2bn) while he was in prison.
Expected, Ajudua was to be arraigned on a 13-count charge of conspiracy and fraud alongside Elumile Adedeji (a.k.a Ade Bendel), Kenneth and Princess Hamabon William now at large.
Ajudua alongside other suspects allegedly defrauded Bamaiyi at the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons, where he and the other fraud suspects were remanded.
Ajudua, currently answering various charges bordering on advanced fee fraud pressed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, according to his lawyer, Richard Ahonaruogho, was absent because he was only aware of the matter on Saturday, adding that his client was ill.
The anti-graft agency also alleged that Ajudua and others fraudulently claimed that $1m out of the total money collected from Bamaiyi was for financial assistance for the treatment of Justice Olubunmi Oyewole’s father, who was handling Bamaiyi’s case then.
Also, the former COAS, was said to have parted with the money in foreign currency to also bribe some eminent personalities to intervene in his case where he was charged alongside Major Hamza Al-Mustapha for the alleged murder of late Alhaja Kudirat Abiola. He was latter discharged and acquitted by the trial court.
The suspects were said to have informed Bamaiyi that Oyewole’s father, was admitted at Saint Nicholas in Lagos and the $1m was meant to assist the judge in treating his father.
Justice Ipaye then adjourned till February 12, 2014 for the arraignment, while she ordered that warrant of production should be served on the prison authority to produce Ajudua at the next hearing date.
The offences of conspiracy and obtaining by false pretences were said to be contrary to Sections 8(a) and 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud Related Offences Act. No. 13 of 1995 as ammended by Act No. 62 of 1999.