Guardian Court denies Ajudua’s bail bid over alleged fraud THURSDAY, 27 JUNE 2013 00:00 BY BERTRAM NWANNEKANMA NEWS -NATIONAL • Another shifts ruling on Anosike brothers AN Ikeja High Court, Lagos on Thursday denied a suspect and lawyer, Chief Fred Ajudua bail in alleged $1.69 million fraud trial. Meanwhile, a Federal High Court, Lagos also adjourned ruling on the criminal charge leveled against the Anosike brothers by the Federal Government to September 30. Justice Olubunmi Oyewole in his ruling dismissed Ajudua’s bail application on the ground that the medical report he tendered that he was within the court’s jurisdiction on a particular day his matter came up but failed to attend the proceedings. Ajudua and his associate, Mr. Charles Orie, were being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly defrauding two Dutch businessmen – Messrs Remy Cina and Pierre Vijgen – of the said sum between July 1999 and September 2000. Their prosecution, which started in 2003 was, however, halted in 2005 after Ajudua, then on bail, stopped coming to court for his trial, prompting the judge to revoke his bail. But when he finally appeared before the court on June 11, 2013, he was remanded in Kirikiri prison custody by Justice Oyewole, leading to his fresh application for bail. His lawyer has asked the court to restore the revoked bail for his client on December 15, 2005 with the same condition and additional surety or grant him a fresh bail with conditions the court deemed fit while the trial lasted. He submitted that his client who had undergone kidney surgeries in India was suffering from a complicated ailment. He had maintained that his client could not attend his trial as a dead man. But the EFCC counsel, Wemimo Ogunde (SAN) opposed the application on the ground that the defendant could no longer have the privilege of bail since he had delayed the trial for seven years. However in his ruling on the bail application, the judge said the court had discretion to grant bail which must be exercised judicially and judiciously. According to him, Ajudua was granted permission to travel to India for medical treatment in 2005 and had failed to appear thereafter. The judge said no reference was made by Ajudua’s counsel on the exact date he left the country, adding that his international passport was also not tendered before the court between July 1999 and September 2000. Oyewole said the medical report tendered by the accused showed that he was within the court’s jurisdiction on a particular day his matter came up but failed to attend the proceedings. “It appeared that Ajudua was physically fit even though the medical report said he was suffering from a complicated ailment”, the court ruled. Oyewole also rejected his counsel’s promise to make an undertaken on behalf of Ajudua, noting that a previous undertaken by another lawyer was not honoured. “In totality therefore, I am not persuaded that the accused will make himself available for trial if bail is granted. “Counsel are to prepare for the resumption of trial from July 8 and it shall proceed on a day to day basis until the matter is concluded,” the judge stated. The Anosike brothers are being prosecuted over alleged advance fee fraud, money laundering and fraudulent conversion of proceeds realised from the sale of assets belonging to Daily Times of Nigeria (DTN). According to the allegation, the Anosike brothers were said to have fraudulently converted about N325 million of DTN’s assets to their private use. Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, had on May 7, 2013, fixed yesterday for ruling on an objection raised by the accused, but the judge told parties yesterday that the ruling was not ready. The Anosike brothers – Noel and Fidelis Anosike – had through their counsel, Norrison Quakers argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the criminal charge. Citing Section 215 of the Criminal Procedure Act and a plethora of authorities, Quakers had told the court that it is an anomaly for an accused to be arraigned on a charge that is not properly served. Responding, the prosecuting counsel, Ernest Ezebilo dismissed Quakers’ argument and described it as an attempt to further delay the arraignment of the Anosike brothers. Ezebilo argued that the charge had been duly served on the accused and that the proof of service of the charge was clearly exhibited in the court’s file, urging the court to proceed with the case. The Anosike brothers are being tried alongside their company, Folio Communications Limited over the alleged fraud.
Posted on: Fri, 28 Jun 2013 08:34:45 +0000
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