A Lagos socialite, Fred Ajudua, has asked former Chief of Army Staff Lt.-Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi (retd) to provide proof of the source of the $8.4million for which he was alleged to have defrauded him in 2004.
He made the request yesterday through his counsel, Olalekan Ojo (SAN), before Justice Josephine Oyefeso at an Ikeja High Court in Lagos.
Ajudua is standing trial before the court for allegedly defrauding Lt. Gen. Bamaiyi of $8.4million while they were both in Kirikiri Prisons in 2004.
Ajudua, alongside co-defendants, had allegedly approached Bamaiyi and convinced him that he could hire the services of Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) to help secure his freedom with Bamaiyi, giving Ajudua $8.4million as legal fees.
At the time of the incident, Bamaiyi was in custody for treason, while Ajudua was in custody for fraud related offences.
The law chambers of Afe Babalola and Co issued a disclaimer disassociating itself from the case.
At the resumed proceedings yesterday, Ojo told the court that he had been re-hired by Ajudua to represent him and requested the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the last court proceedings held on November 26.
He said he needed the CTC to keep him abreast of recent happenings in the case.
Ojo 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.
“My Lord, I got the CTC of the proceedings at 3pm yesterday 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.
“After reading the records of proceedings, I discovered several issues, which made us to request the learned counsel to the prosecution to avail us 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 relate to the alleged transactions that took place at the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons.
“There is need to write letters to the prison for some clarifications for us to conduct a thorough investigation,” he said.
Ojo argued that there was nowhere in the proof of evidence where the former Chief of Army Staff had stated that he sold some specific landed property to raise the funds which he gave to Ajudua.
He noted that Ajudua was granted bail by the Court of Appeal on December 10 for another fraud case he had pending before Justice Mojisola Dada of an Ikeja Special Offences Court.
Ojo asked the court for an adjournment to enable him file necessary documents to compel the prosecution to provide documents that are not in the proof of evidence.
The lead prosecutor for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Seidu Atteh, however, opposed the defence’s request for an adjournment.
He argued that the evidence before the court was not solely based on the sale of property, explaining that that was just one of the numerous sources stated in the evidence-in-chief of Bamaiyi.
Atteh said he was ready to cross-examine the witness on other sources of the funds given to the defendant.
He promised to make available the proof of the landed property sold to the defence at the next adjourned date.
“My Lord, I urge you to refuse the application in order to save judicial time. I urge My Lord to call the witness to the box,” the EFCC prosecutor said.
Acceding to the request of the defence for an adjournment, Justice Josephine Oyefeso ordered the prosecution to provide the necessary documents to the defence.
She said the CTC would be ready for collection by the defence.
Justice Oyefeso adjourned the matter till February 19, 20 and 21 for continuation of trial.