The trial of Fred Ajudua for allegedly obtaining money to the tune of $8.4m, suffered another setback, as his lawyer, Olalekan Ojo, SAN, sought an adjournment before Justice Josephine Oyefeso of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ajah, Lagos.
Ajudua allegedly swindled a former Chief of Army Staff, Ishaya Bamaiyi, of $8.4m, while they were both serving time for different offences at the Kirikiri Prison, Lagos, in 2004.
TheFact Nigeria learnt that Ajudua, alongside his accomplices, one of which is Alumile Adedeji (also known as Ade Bendel), had allegedly approached Bamaiyi and convinced him that he could hire the legal services of Chief Afe Babalola, SAN, at the cost of $8.4m to help secure his release.
At the resumed sitting on Monday, 18 October, 2021, the prosecution Councel, S. K Attend, informed the court that the prosecution had received a letter from the defence counsel, Ojo, stating that he would not be present in court and also sought an adjournment of the trial. Atteh also said that the defence Councel was requesting three days in December.
He also noted that the case, after it was filed in 2013, suffered a series of preliminary objections until November 6, 2018 when the trial commenced.
“From the records of the court, it appears the defence counsel has little or no time for this case. The first prosecution witness has been in the witness box since November 6, 2018; and up until now, he hasn’t finished giving his evidence.
“We acknowledge that the defendant has the constitutional right to engage any counsel of his choice, but the counsel also has to have time for the case.
“It is not proper that the defence counsel has to be the one fixing dates for this case”, Atteh further submitted, after which he asked the court for a date in November.
Atteh also submitted that the defendant could engage another lawyer, if his lawyer was unavailable “so as not to waste the time of the court.”
Justice Oyefeso, in a short ruling, held that he had noted the concerns of the prosecution, and averred that the defence Councel must devote time for this criminal charge.
“We must ensure that the case is completed expeditiously and without further excuses”, Justice Oyefeso said.
The matter was then adjourned to November 15 and December 6, 2021 for continuation of trial.