A Lagos socialite lawyer, Fred Ajudua was yesterday arraigned before a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja for defrauding a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi, of about $8.395 million.
Ajudua who is also facing similar fraud trial in another court had through a preliminary objection insisted that the court had no jurisdiction to try him since he was charged under the repealed advance fee fraud act.
He also argued that Bamaiyi should stand trial along with him for admitting in his statement to the EFCC that he attempted to bribe a sitting judge.
The trial judge however dismissed the application last week and fixed yesterday for arraignment.
Before he was docked yesterday, Ajudua through his lawyer Olalekan Ojo, made further attempt to stall his arraignment insisting that he had filed an application before the Court of Appeal challenging the earlier ruling of the court.
The judge again overruled his objection insisting that his appeal cannot automatically stall his trail more so when the appeal has not been properly entered.
In the 14 count charge slammed against him , the EFCC alleged that Ajudua, along with others still at large defrauded Gen. Bamaiyi of $8.387m between November 2004 and June 2005 while in prison.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Ajudua is the only defendant in the fresh charges as others who allegedly committed the offences along with him are said to be at large.
Other suspects at large include, Alumile Adedeji (a.k.a Ade Bendel) one Mr. Kenneth and Princess Hamabon William.
Ajudua, along with other suspects, were said to have defrauded Bamaiyi at the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons, where he and the other fraud suspects were on remand for various crimes.
EFCC claimed that the suspects had fraudulently collected the money from Bamaiyi in parts, falsely claiming that the payments represented the professional fees charged by Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) to handle Bamaiyi’s case in court and to facilitate his release from prison.
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. Justice Oyewole was then presiding over Bamaiyi’s case in court.
The suspects were said to have claimed to 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 adjourned the matter till April 8, 2014 for hearing of pending applications.