12th February, 2014
Fred Ajudua, the Lagos lawyer facing several fraud charges, has turned the accuser in one of the cases he is defending in a Nigerian Court.
Slammed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, with defrauding Lt. General Ishaya Bamaiya, a former chief of army staff, to the tune of $5.9million, Ajudua has turned the case on its head.
He now wants an Ikeja High Court to compel the EFCC to prosecute Bamaiyi (rtd), for alleged money laundering, as contained in a preliminary notice of objection filed by his counsel, Mr Olalekan Ojo, before Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye on Wednesday.
The application is challenging the competence of the fresh charge preferred against Ajudua for allegedly defrauding Bamaiyi of about $5.9 million (about N1 billion).
Ojo argued that Bamaiyi’s petition and statement to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had disclosed self-confession to various crimes, which included conspiracy, aiding and abetting, money laundering and corrupting of public officers.
He listed others to be prosecuted for the offences as Lawal Yaro, Abdullahi Garba, Martha Bamaiyi, Garba Tagda, Mohammed Abubakar, Lt. Col. Timothy Chechet and Sam Bandi.
Ojo said: “The law prescribes punishment ranging from a minimum of five years imprisonment as can be seen in Sections 8 and 9 of the anti-corruption law.”
He said some of the transactions carried out by Bamaiyi and the other listed individuals attracted over 100 years imprisonment under Section 15(1) of the existing Money Laundering Act at that time.
Ojo also objected to the request by the EFCC counsel, Mr Seidu Atteh, that the court should order Ajudua to take his plea.
According to him, in view of previous Supreme Court decisions, an application challenging the competence of the charges should be taken first before the arraignment.
The judge ordered the EFCC to respond to the defence application within seven days and adjourned hearing of the application till 27 February.
The EFCC alleged that Ajudua conspired with others to perpetrate the fraud between November 2004 and June 2005.
According to the EFCC, the defendant defrauded Bamaiyi while they were both on remand at the Kirikiri Prisons in Lagos for separate alleged crimes.
The anti-graft agency said Ajudua obtained the money in installments from Bamaiyi by claiming that it represented the professional fees charged by Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) to handle his case.
He is also alleged to have claimed that the money would help to facilitate Bamaiyi’s release from prison