Citing the failure of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to produce witnesses to substantiate its allegations of fraud against alleged fraud kingpin, Fred Ajudua, a Lagos State High Court in Ikeja yesterday discharged him.
The trial judge, Justice Kudirat Jose put an end to the protracted case which started in 2003 after the EFCC told the court that its witnesses most of whom are foreigners are refusing to come to Nigeria because of the fear of contracting the Ebola Virus.
However, Ajudua cannot go home yet, as he was returned to prison custody because another case where he is accused of allegedly defrauding former Chief of Army Staff, Gen Ishaya Bamaiyi of $8.4million while they were both in custody at Kirikiri Prison in Lagos between November 2004 and June 2005 is still pending before Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye.
EFCC had rearrainged Ajudua and his co-defendant, Charles Orie in 2013 for allegedly defrauding two European businessmen, Remy Cina and Pierre Vijgen of the sum of $1.69 million (N287 million).
EFCC is accusing Ajudua and Orie alongside Rasheed Adekunle, Abisola Fawehinmi, and Stephen Joiner (who are still at large) of committing the crime between 1999 and 2000.
Ajudua, who is also known as Isa Audu, and the others allegedly obtained the money from the businessmen as sundry payment to various government officials for payment of an $18 million contract No. FMA/EED/3040/S92, according to the EFCC.
They both pleaded not guilty to the four-count charge of conspiracy, fraud and obtaining money by false pretence. The court however refused to grant them bail.
It would be recalled that the defendants were first arraigned on 24th July, 2003, before Joseph Olubunmi Oyewole (now of the Court of Appeal).