Olalekan Ojo (SAN), counsel to Lagos socialite, Fred Ajudua, has described as insufficient the proof of the source of $8.4 million allegedly defrauded retired Lt. -Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi by Ajudua.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Ajudua is standing trial before a Lagos High Court in Ikeja for defrauding Bamaiyi of the sum in 2004 while they were both incarcerated at the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons, Lagos.
He is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Ajudua, however, pleaded not guilty.
In a written address he filed alongside a motion dated February 6, Ojo contended that the alleged insufficient proof of the source of the funds denied Ajudua the right to fair trial as provided for by Section 36(6)(b) of the 1999 Constitution.
Ojo said at the resumed trial of the case on Tuesday: “The prosecution is saying in both its counter-affidavit and written address that it is not bound to give us the documents we are asking for.
He said: “It has not contended that the documents are not relevant or available. I shall rely on the testimony of Prosecution Witness One, Bamaiyi, a former Chief of Army Staff.
“PW1 said he sold several houses, received funds from friends and added his personal money and gave to the defendant. That evidence sums up the totality of the case of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“For example, PW1 claimed a property was sold in 2005 but it was executed in 1993. As far as we are concerned, you have not given us what we have requested for.”
Ojo added that Bamaiyi claimed that the defendant visited him several times at the Kirikiri Prisons.
He said: “We have asked the FRN to produce documents as a proof of the visit but it has not provided the proof.”
Responding, Seidu Atteh, the lead counsel to EFCC, however, said that Bamaiyi had provided proof of the source of the funds as requested by the defence.
He said that the defence also requested for documents which Bamaiyi had no access to, such as the 2005 Visitors Book of the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons.
He said: “In compliance with the order of the court given on December 20, 2018, we filed additional proof of evidence in addition to the complainant’s evidence.
“My lord, an order of court should be on something clear and unambiguous; the defendant is asking for some documents which are not in our possession.
“On the issue of the dates of the property transactions, this is something the defonce counsel can put to the complainant during cross-examination.”
Justice Josephine Oyefeso consequently adjourned the case until February 21 for ruling on the submissions, and continuation of trial.
NAN reports that the EFCC alleged that Ajudua and some others approached Bamaiyi when he was in the Kirikiri Prisons (over alleged attempted murder of the Publisher of the Guardian newspaper, Alex Ibru) to allow them to hire the legal services of Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) for him.
The EFCC claimed that Bamaiyi gave Ajudua $8.4 million as the legal fee but he defrauded him.
The law chambers of Afe Babalola and Co. has since issued a disclaimer, disassociating itself from the case.
During court proceedings on December 20, 2018, Oyefeso granted Ojo’s request that Bamaiyi should provide a proof of the source of the $8.4 million he was allegedly defrauded by Ajudua in 2004.