An alleged $1m fraud case against socialite and lawyer, Fred Ajudua, has been reopened by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), before a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja, Monday.
It would be recalled that the anti-graft agency had initiated the case in 2005 before the court presided over by Justice Morenikeji Obadina, but was thrown out in 2009 subsequent upon the failure of Ajudua to appear before the court 24 times.
According to the charge instituted on February 9, 2005, the Commission alleged that Ajudua alongside Joseph Ochunor in 1993 conspired to defraud one Ziad Abu Zalaf of Technical International Limited based in Germany.
It was further posited by the anti-graft agency that Ajudua and his co-defendant at various times collected an aggregate sum of $1,043,000 from the German businessman under the guise of financing a fictitious contract awarded by the Nigeria National Petroleum Commission (NNPC).
While the matter lasted for four years before Justice Obadina, Ajudua failed to appear for trial despite a warrant of arrest issued by the court against him.
Eventually, the matter was thrown out in 2009 by the Judge on the grounds that the EFCC could not produce the defendants.
By the time Ajudua reappeared sometime in 2013, the anti-graft agency then took the opportunity to file an application before the Chief Judge (CJ) of Lagos State for the case to be relisted.
This prompted the CJ to reassign the case to Justice Oyefeso.
At Monday’s sitting, EFCC’s lawyer, S.A Atteh notified the court that the anti-graft agency had on January 25, 2017, instituted a motion with the intention of reopening the fraud case.
But in his response, Ajudua’s counsel, Morrison Quakers (SAN) told the court that Ajudua had already filed a preliminary objection against the motion filed by the EFCC.
Justice Oyefeso adjourned the case until March 13, 2017 for argument of the applications.
Meanwhile, in a separate trial before Justice Oyefeso over allegations that Ajudua allegedly defrauded the former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi of $4.8m, the defendant in an application urged the court to throw out the charge against him.
Consequently, Justice Oyefeso adjourned until March 13, 2017 as a result of the inability of the anti-graft agency to effect service of its response to the defendant.