Ajudua in fresh arraignment over alleged fraud

By The Citizen

Lagos socialite, Fred Ajudua, was re-arraigned for fresh trial on Wednesday for alleged $1.69 fraud, about 11 years after he was arraigned for the alleged crime,

The prosecuting Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) got him and his alleged accomplice, Charles Orie, to take fresh plea on Wednesday on for allegedly defrauding two Dutch businessmen of 1.69 million dollars (about N252.8 million).

The duo, who were originally charged before Justice Olubunmi Oyewole on July 24, 2003, entered a not-guilty plea before Justice Kudirat Jose of an Ikeja High Court on a four-count charge of conspiracy and obtaining money under false pretences.

Oyewole withdrew from the trial following a petition to the EFCC by a former Chief of Army Staff,  Leutenant-General Ishaya Bamaiyi (retd).

Bamaiyi alleged in the petition that Ajudua used the names of the judge and others to defraud him of about 8.39 million dollars (N1.3 billion).

At  proceedings, counsel for  EFCC, Olumuyiwa Balogun, requested that the duo take a fresh plea.

Balogun alleged that the defendants had conspired with three men - Abiola Fawehinmi, Steven Joiner and Rasheed Adekunle - now at large, to commit the offences between July 30, 1999 and February 9, 2000.

He alleged that they defrauded the businessmen - Messrs Remy Cina and Pierre Vijgen - by claiming that the money was for sundry payments to various government officials.

Balogun said the defendants claimed that the payments would help them to facilitate a contract worth 18 million dollars on behalf of the complainants. According to him, the offences contravene Sections 1(a) and (b) of the Advance Fee Fraud Act of 1995 as amended by Decree No. 62 of 1999.