From: Romanus Okoye
A Lagos High Court sitting at Ikeja, on Monday, adjourned the hearing of an application filed by a Lagos socialite, Fred Ajudua, to stop his trial, till November 30.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had claimed that Ajudua and one Joseph Ochunor had, sometime in 1993, defrauded one Ziad Abu Zalaf, a German of Technical International Ltd the sum of $1 million.
The EFCC had, on February 13, 2017 re-opened the charge filed against Ajudua in 2005 after it was struck out in 2009 by Justice Morenikeji Obadina also of a Lagos High Court for want of diligent prosecution.
Obadina had struck out the case after Ajudua failed to appear in court on 24 occasions to face trial.
At the resumed proceedings, on Monday, Ajudua’s counsel, Alex Agbaka, informed the court of a pending application in which the defendant is praying the court to quash the fraud charge against him.
Agbaka told the court that he had filed the application on May 9 and had served same on the prosecution.
The EFCC counsel, S.A Atteh told the court that they had filed their response but however noticed that there was a mistake, so they decided to file another response.
Justice Oyefeso adjourned the matter till November 30 for hearing of the application.
In the charge, the EFCC alleged the dup of Ajudua and Ochonot had at various times collected an aggregate sum of $1,043,000 from the German businessman under the guise of financing a fictitious contract awarded by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). EFCC had also accused Ajudua of defrauding former Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Ishaya Bamaiyi while both were in prison custody in 2004 for different offences.
EFCC said Ajudua had allegedly approached Bamaiyi, who was facing trial for the attempted murder of Mr Alex Ibru, the late publisher of the Guardian Newspaper, and convinced him that he could help to secure his freedom.
According to the commission, Ajudua received 4.8 million dollars from Bamaiyi under the guise that the money was the legal fees for the law firm of Chief Afe Babalola and Co.
Ronke Rosulu, a court registrar who allegedly helped him funnel the funds from the prison, was sentenced in a separate trial on December 21, 2005 to 10 years in prison by Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo, while Ajudua’s case is still before Justice Oyefeso.