Nigeria News

NIGERIA: EFCC Witness’ Absence Stalls Ajudua’s Trial

The trial of a former Lagos socialite, Mr. Fred Ajudua,was monday stalled due to the absence of the prosecution witness in court.
Ajudua and one Charles Orie are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC) for allegedly defrauding two Dutch businessmen, Messrs Remy Cina and Pierre Vijgen, of the sum of $1.69 million.
The offence was allegedly committed between  July 30, 1999 and February 9, 2000.
The defendants were re-arraigned at the court on February 5, following the transfer of the case from the former trial judge, Justice Joseph Oyewole.
When the matter came up yesterday, EFCC’s lawyer, Chief Wemimo Ogunde (SAN), told the court that some of the prosecution witnesses who reside abroad were not in the country because the commission was unsure of how the matter would proceed.
Ogunde said the defence counsel led by Olalekan Ojo had on April 25, served the commission with a process for stay of proceedings but later called to say that it was served in error.
He said based on the incident, the commission could not extend an invitation to the witnesses to travel down to Nigeria.
Ogunde further said the commission was  been careful in extending invitation to the witnesses because a similar incident had occurred when the witnesses came but the matter did not proceed.
He subsequently asked for a 21-day period to enable the EFCC get the witnesses to attend the trial.
Olalekan, however opposed the request for a 21-day adjournment, saying the period was too long to get a witness from abroad.
Ojo noted that it would be wrong for the court to grant such long adjournment when his client had been refused bail.
He also contended that the fact that his chamber mistakenly served the EFCC with a wrong process was not enough excuse for the commission not to bring its witnesses to the court.
The Judge however, overruled Ojo’s argument and adjourned the matter till May 23 for trial.

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