Nigeria: Ajidua’s lawyer challenges Bamaiyi to provide proof of source of funds in $8.4 million fraud trial
London, Dec. 20, 2018 (AltAfrica)-Olalekan Ojo (SAN) the defence counsel for Fred Ajudua, a former Lagos socialite, challenged a former Chief of Army Staff, Ishaya Bamaiyi, to provide proof of the source of the 8.4 million dollars, his client allegedly defrauded him of in 2004.
Mr Ojo, gave the challenge on Thursday at an Ikeja High Court at the resumed trial of Mr Ajudua for the alleged fraud.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Ajudua, allegedly defrauded Mr Bamaiyi of $8.4million while they were both in custody in Kirikiri Prisons in 2004,
Mr Bamaiyi, a retired lieutenant general, was in custody for treason while Mr Ajudua was in custody for fraud related offences.
Mr Ajudua, alongside some accomplices, had allegedly approached Mr Bamaiyi and convinced him that he could hire the legal services of Afe Babalola (SAN) to help secure his freedom with Mr Bamaiyi giving Mr Ajudua $8.4 million as legal fees.
When the alleged fraud came to light, the law chambers of Afe Babalola and Co issued a disclaimer dissociating itself from the case.
During Thursday’s proceedings, Mr Ojo told the court that he had been re-engaged by Mr Ajudua to represent him and had requested for the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the last court proceedings held on November 26 to keep him abreast of recent happenings in the case.
He said the defence wanted Bamaiyi to provide documents showing proof of the source of the $8.4million in order to adequately cross-examine the retired General.
“After reading the records of proceedings, I discovered that several issues which necessitating us requesting the learned counsel to the prosecution to avail is certain documents related to the evidence given by the first prosecution witness (Bamaiyi).
“These include evidence of alleged sale of items of landed property the proceeds of which according to the witness, formed part of the sources of funds he claimed to have handed to the defendant.
“The other pieces of evidence relates to the alleged transactions that took place at the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons.
“There is a need to write letters to the prison for some clarifications for us to conduct a very thorough investigation,” Mr Ojo said.
The SAN said there was nowhere in the proof of evidence, where the former Chief of Army Staff had stated that he had sold some specific landed money to raise the funds he gave to Mr Ajudua.
He noted that Mr Ajudua had been granted bail by the Court of Appeal on December 10 for another fraud case he has pending before Justice Mojisola Dada of an Ikeja Special Offences Court.
“My Lord I got the CTC of the proceedings at 3 p.m on Wednesday and it was virtually impossible for me to have any discussion with the defendant.
“We are not blaming anybody for this because in other courts, the CTC of proceedings won’t be ready as quickly as this because of the volume of work,” he said.
Mr Ojo asked the court to for an adjournment to enable him file necessary documents to compel the prosecution provide documents that are not in the proof of evidence.
Seidu Atteh, the lead prosecutor for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) however opposed the defence’s request for an adjournment.
“My Lord, the evidence before this honourable court is not solely based on the sale of property, that is just one of the numerous sources stated in the evidence-in-chief of the first prosecution witness.
“We can cross-examine the witness today on other sources of the funds given to the defendant and if proof of the landed property sold is important to the defence, we will make it available to him on the next adjourned date.
“My Lord, refuse the application and in order to save judicial time, I urge My Lord to call the witness to the box,” the EFCC prosecutor said.
Acceding the request of the defence for an adjournment, Justice Josephine Oyefeso ordered the prosecution to provide the necessary documents to the defence.
“I take responsibility for the CTC of proceedings not being ready until yesterday.
“I agree with the submission of the defence counsel that prosecution should make available all the relevant documents as he has stated.
“I hereby grant an adjournment, the case is adjourned to Feb. 19, 20 and 21 2019 for continuation of trial,” Mrs Oyefeso said.
Mr Bamaiyi had while testifying on November 26, revealed the sources of the funds he allegedly lost to the scam.
He said most of the money were from friends, colleagues, relations and well-wishers who had pleaded with him not to identify them because some of them held positions in government.
“The other sources were from my farm products, I’ve been a farmer since 1984 when I was in service, I do different things on my farm, I grow cotton, soya beans and I’m also involved in animal husbandry.
“My Lord, I was posted to Lagos since 1986 and I remained in Lagos till my retirement in 1999. I was able to acquire some property, two duplexes on Sanusi Fafunwa in Victoria Island which were allocated to me by the Lagos State Government.
“I went into an agreement with HFP, a construction company who developed the two duplexes and rented it for six years and returned them to me, I sold those duplexes.
“My Lord, I bought a duplex and flat in Dolphin Estate which I also sold, I had a duplex in Tajudeen Olanrewaju Estate Yaba which I also sold, I have a plot of land at Dolphin Estate, and I also had two bungalows in Kaduna which I also sold.
“My Lord, these were the sources of the money,” Mr Bamaiyi said. NAN