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$8.4m fraud: Judge upbraids Ajudua’s lawyer for abandoning mid-way



$8.4m fraud: Judge upbraids Ajudua’s lawyer for abandoning mid-way


Justice Josephine Oyefeso of an Ikeja High Court, Lagos, yesterday upbraided a lawyer, Alex Agbaka, representing a serial fraudster, Mr Fred Ajudua, in an $8.4 million fraud for absconding from trial midway into the proceedings and disobeying a court order.


Ajudua was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for allegedly defrauding a former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Ishaya Bamaiyi of $8.4 million in 2012 when they were both incarcerated at the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons for different offences.


Agbaka, who held brief on behalf of his Senior Counsel, Olalekan Ojo, SAN, had yesterday abandoned the trial midway without permission after grilling Bamaiyi, who was in the witness box, for over an hour during cross examination.




The court had granted a short stand down for Agbaka to relax his nerves after he had sort for an adjournment on the premise that he could not continue the cross examination as a result of body pain and ill health. Justice Oyefeso immediately refused the application of an adjournment and insisted that the Defence    counsel concluded cross examination with the witness, Bamaiyi, who had been in the witness box since February 2019.


In lieu of an adjournment, the judge granted a 30 minutes stand down to allow Agbaka take his acclaimed medication but he disappeared from the court premises and didn’t return even when the court resumed proceedings. Agbaka left the court leaving a written note with his client, Ajudua, to inform the court that he had left for an appointment which he had allegedly fixed with his doctor for 1pm.




When the judge resumed proceedings and realized that the Defence Counsel was absent, after the recess, she made an order to the defendant ordering him to inform his Counsel to return to the court and stood down the matter for another 30minutes.


After the second stand down, Agbaka was still nowhere present in court and Ajudua urged the court to grant them one more adjournment to conclude with the prosecution’s first witness. Frowning at the flippant attitude exhibited by Agbaka, Justice Oyefeso described it as unprofessional and a disobedience to a court order.


The judge lamented: “This is a 2013 matter. This matter has been delayed for so long. The defendant has earlier appeared before Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye where the matter was initially instituted by the EFCC.


“The arraignment of the defendant suffered several setbacks as a result of several applications ranging from application challenging jurisdiction and application to quash charges. We finally crossed that hurdle and the prosecution called its first witness. “Meanwhile, this witness has been in the box since February 20, 2019. “The lawyer claiming ill health started the cross examination and no one could have believed that there was anything wrong with him.

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