Alleged $8.4m fraud: Court compels Ajudua to go for COVID-19 test

A Lagos High Court, Ajah, Lagos, has ordered serial fraudster, Fred Ajudua to undergo a COVID-19 test at Yaba Infectious Disease Centre in the presence of the representatives of both the prosecution and defence and the result must be communicated to the court within 48-hours.

Justice Josephine Oyefeso made the order shortly after counsel to the defence, Akinwale Kola – Taiwo, who represented the lead counsel for the defendant, Olalekan Ojo (SAN), informed the court that though Ajudua was present in court premises but pleaded that he should not be made to enter the courtroom because he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Ajudua is standing trial for allegedly defrauding a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Ishaya Bamaiyi of Eight Million, Four Thousand Dollars ($8.400,000.00) only in 2004 while they were both inmates at the Kirikiri Prison for different offences.

The defendant and his accomplices were said to have approached Bamaiyi and convinced him that he would hire the legal services of Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) at a cost of Eight Million, Four Thousand Dollars ($8.400,000.00) only to help him secure his release from custody.

It is on record that for over two-years, Bamaiyi has been under cross-examination by the defence after giving his evidence-in-chief on 25th November 2018.

The cross-examination of the former Chief of Army Staff has suffered several delays occasioned by the defence.

At the resumed hearing of proceedings today, Tuesday, Kola-Taiwo told the court that the medical report of the defendant shows that he contacted the deadly virus for the first time on 8th January 2021, and was tested negative on 15th January 2021 after he treated himself through self-medication.

He said: “I’m sincerely sorry for the absence of the defendant. He is downstairs but I don’t think he should be allowed to enter the court.

“An associate of the defendant met me and handed over these documents to me. They are medical reports of the defendant testing positive for COVID-19 virus.

“Your Lordship, the defendant was tested positive of COVID-19 for the first time on 8/01/2021. He did self-medication and he was tested negative on 15/01/2021. The defendant has an underlying health issue. He has been living with one kidney for a couple of years now sir.

“Sometimes around 14 October this year, while he was in his home town in Delta State, the defendant also contacted COVID-19. The defendant has been medicating ever since, but the condition is deteriorating

“The latest test was done three days ago on 3rd December 2021and the result came out positive again. I was told that the defendant flew in from Delta State last night. We will be praying to your lordship for an adjournment to give room for the defendant to be treated for the virus.

In his response, lead prosecution counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Seidu Attach, questioned the absence of the lead defence counsel Ojo.

He says the defence should make all the documents available to the prosecution so that thell conduct their own investigation on the authenticitAttachthe documents.

Atteh said in the alternative, the court should invoke Section 235 of the newly passed Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State, 2014, which states that defendant can be tried in absentia.

“Where is the principal Mrmy learned friend, Mr. Olalekan Ojo (SAN),Recordsay’s date. Past records of the defendant have made claims of illness.

“The defendant should make available the documents to us so that we can look into it before the we make our comment. In the alternative, the court should invoke Section .235 of ACJL, 2014, because the defendant cannot continue to manipulate the court.

Justice Oyefeso, while delivering a bench ruling, ordered the defendant to be tested at the laboratory of Yaba Infectious Disease Centre, in the presence of both the prosecution and defence.
The court also an ordered the defence to file an application attached to all the medical reports of the defendant befothe re the court.

The judge directed prosecution to the issue of Section .235 of ACJL, 2014 before the court as an application.

Justice Oyefeso adjournedthe matterthe to 15 February, 2022 for continuation of trial.