Lagos Lawyer and socialite, Barrister Fred Ajudua

Ajudua discharged and acquitted of $1.69M fraud

Lagos Lawyer and socialite, Barrister Fred Ajudua was today, Wednesday, 15 October 2014, discharged at the Ikeja High Court of the US$1.69 million (about N252.8 million) fraud case levied against him by the Federal Government.

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) counsel, Mrs A.E. Sanusi, had told the court that some principal prosecution witnesses refused to come to Nigeria to give evidence in the matter, and decided to withdrawal all the charges against Chief Ajudua.

“Our witnesses are foreigners who are reluctant to come to Nigeria. They are citing Ebola virus disease as one of the reasons they do not want to come,” said Mrs Sanusi.

Justice Kudirat Jose of an Ikeja High Court then discharged him of all the offences proffered by the EFCC.

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This is a happy ending for a man who has been pursued by the EFCC for years. The case has been on for eleven years, when he was first arraigned before the Lagos State High Court in 2003 for allegedly defrauding two Dutch businessmen, Remy Cina and Pierre Vijgen between July 1999 and September 2000.

In March 2006, three years after his first 2003 arraignment, Chief Ajudua, popularly called Onwa, was granted bail on medical grounds. He then went to receive treatment at Grant Medical Foundation, Pane, India in October 2006.

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On Monday May 22nd, however, Justice Olubunmi Oyewole, who was presiding over the case, ordered that Chief Ajudua must appear in person in court for trial. On 11 June 2013, at the resumption of trial, Justice Oyewole ordered that Barrister Ajudua be remanded in prisons custody, following a fresh 13-count charge of fraud brought against him by the EFCC.

He had pleaded not guilty to all the allegations.

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