Eight years after he absented himself from trial over alleged swindling of two Dutch, Mr. Remy Cina and Pierre Vijgen, of about $1.69 million, Ibusa-born lawyer and controversial businessman, Mr. Fred Ajudua, was yesterday ordered to be remanded in prison by Justice Joseph Oyewole of an Ikeja High Court.
Justice Oyewole’s order followed the sudden reappearance of the lawyer in court after the trial judge had in January 2006 issued a bench warrant directing the police to arrest and bring him to court, due to his continued absence from trial.
He is expected to remain in prison till June 24, 2013 when his bail application will be heard.
Ajudua was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in 2003 alongside one Charles Orie for allegedly defrauding the two Dutch businessmen of about $1.69 million between July 1999 and September 2000.
Shortly after his trial started before Justice Oyewole, moments the first trial Judge, Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun was moved to the Court of Appeal, he applied to be treated in India for some ailments, which was granted by the court.
He had surgery but never returned to court, as he claimed to be moving from one hospital to another.
When the case came up yesterday, Ajudua eventually appeared before Justice Oyewole who ordered that he should be held on remand since he had revoked his earlier bail.
The judge held: “This case has been held up as the agents of the Federal Government of Nigeria have been unable to execute the warrant of arrest issued on January 24, 2005.
“The first defendant is hereby ordered to be remanded in prison. The Superintendent of Prisons shall ensure that the accused is given unrestricted access to medical treatment including being taken to LUTH as an out-patient when occasions demand.”
The EFCC lawyer, Mr. Wemimo Ogunde, SAN, had opposed the application earlier made by Ajudua’s counsel, Mr. Olalekan Ojo, seeking the reversal of the order of Ajudua’s arrest since he was present.
Justice Oyewole, however, reversed the order of arrest, due to his appearance in court, saying since the accused person’s bail had been revoked, he still needed to convince the court if he was worthy of being released on bail.