Monday, 13 March 2017

$4.8million fraud: Ajudua challenges right of EFCC to prosecute him

Lagos lawyer, Fred Ajudua, has challenged the right of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to prosecute him over charges that he allegedly defrauded a former Chief of Army Staff Lt-Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi of $4.8million. The EFCC had alleged that Ajudua defrauded Bamaiyi while they were in Kirikiri Maximum Prisons in 2004. According to the EFCC, Ajudua had approached Bamaiyi who was facing trial for the attempted murder of the late publisher of The Guardian Newspaper, Mr Alex Ibru and convinced him that he could help to secure his freedom. He was alleged to have received $4.8million from Bamaiyi as legal fees for the law firm of Chief Afe Babalola and Company but which later turned out as false. At resumed proceeding Monday, Ajudua through his counsel, Mr Norrison Quakers in an application dated January, 6, 2017 challenged the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case. Norrison told the court that they have filed an affidavit and a reply on points of law challenging the jurisdiction of this court to hear this case. “The law provides that an information in this charge can only be filed by the Attorney-General of the state and not the EFCC,” He therefore urged the court to quash the charges brought against his client by the anti-graft agency. But counsel to the EFCC, Mr S.A Atteh objected to the application. Atteh said that there was a judgment of the Court of Appeal upholding the right of the EFCC to prosecute the matter. The agency, he said, has responded by filing a counter-affidavit dated February 9, 2017 detailing its opposition. He prayed the court to allow the judgment of the Court of Appeal on whether the EFCC has a fiat to prosecute this case. “I urge the court to dismiss the application of the defence and call the defendant to take his plea,” he said. Justice Oyefeso has however adjourned the case to March 30 for ruling.

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