By Wilson Uwujaren
Notorious advance fee fraud suspect, Fred Ajudua today lost his bid to be admitted to bail ahead of arraignment on a 14-count criminal charge by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for allegedly defrauding a former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Ishaya Bamaiyi (rtd) to the tune of $8.39m.
Justice Oluwayemi Ipaye of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja, on March 3, 2014 dismissed the bail application filed by counsel to Ajudua, Olalekan Ojo on the grounds that it was premised on a repealed law “with no factual support for the request for bail”. “Facts are yet to be established before me and the application is hereby dismissed,” the judge ruled.
Although Ajudua was physically present in court, his counsel, Ojo prayed the court to postpone his arraignment “to enable him look at the charges in order to plead guilty or otherwise”. Besides, he also stressed that, though the EFCC prepared 14-count charges against his client, counts 2 to 14 are duplication “because in the face of the application, it is one case of false pretence whether money was paid and received one million times, it is still one case of false pretence”.
EFCC counsel, Seidu Atteh however thanked the court for dismissing Ajudua’s application for bail and urged it to compel him to take his plea. On the issue of duplication of charges, Atteh stressed that “every act constitutes an offense,” and should not be a basis for opposing arraignment.
Ajudua is alleged to have fraudulently collected a total sum of $8.39million (Eight Million, Three Hundred and Ninety Thousand United States Dollars) from General Bamaiyi(rtd)) in installments, by falsely claiming that the payments represented the professional fees charged by Chief Afe Babatola, SAN, to handle Bamaiyi’s case in court and to facilitate his release from prison.
Justice Ipaye adjourned the case to March 11, 2014 for arraignment. Ajudua was returned to Ikoyi prison, Lagos.