The Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC) on Thursday re-arraigned a one time Lagos socialite and lawyer, Fred Ajudua before an Ikeja High Court over an amended charge bordering on $8.4 million fraud.
Ajudua was arraigned before Justice Oluwatoyin Ipay on a-28 count charge for allegedly defrauding a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt Col Ishaya Bamaiyi, in 2004 at the Kirikiri Prisons.
The EFCC accused Ajudua of obtaining the money under the pretence of giving it to Justice Oyewole through Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) to facilitate Bamaiyi’s freedom when he was facing trial for his alleged role in the attempted murder of Mr. Alex Ibru, the late Publisher of The Guardian Newspapers.
The defendant was initially arraigned before Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye alongside a court registrar, Olorunke Idowu Rosulu who was accused of aiding him to perpetrate the fraud.
Rosulu, who was a Registrar attached to Justice Olubunmi Oyewole when he was a judge in the Lagos State High Court, however opted for seperate trial and had since been convicted for the offence committed and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
At yesterday’s proceedings, before the charges was read, Ajudua’s lawyer, Norrison Quakers (SAN) informed the court of a pending application dated May 10 by his client seeking permission to attend to his ill health.
Quakers told the court that Ajudua was seriously ill and requires urgent surgery abroad to salvage his solitary kidney.
Responding, EFCC counsel, Saiudu Atteh, told the court that the commission planned to respond orally.
But Justice Jose insisted that the response should be made in writing.
Ajudua later pleaded not guilty to the 28- count amended charge after it was read to him.
Quakers also urged the trial judge to allow his client to continue on the earlier bail granted him by the Court of Appeal.
Atteh opposed the application, saying the matter was starting afresh and as such the defendant needed to file fresh bail application.
In her short ruling, Justice Jose insisted that Ajudua must file a formal bail application before the court.
The judge however noted that she would not remand Ajudua in prison custody.
The matter was subsequently adjourned till September 15, 2016 for trial.