Ajudua wants Bamaiyi tried over alleged money laundering
FRED Ajudua, who is facing trial for allegedly laundering $6 million, yesterday urged a Lagos High Court in Ikeja to compel the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to prosecute Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi (rtd) for money laundering.
Apart from seeking Bamaiyi’s trial, Ajudua also asked the court, presided over by Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye, to quash the charges instituted against him by the anti-graft agency.
The businessman is being accused of obtaining $6 million (about N1 billion) under pretence.
The 52-year-old lawyer, who was aided to the dock by two prison officials, was billed to be arraigned for the charge but his counsel, Olalekan Ojo, said his client could not be arraigned until the court has taken a decision on the applications he filed.
“When a defendant is challenging the jurisdiction of the court by virtue of the alleged incompetence of the charge, the law stipulates that the motion be heard before the plea is taken,” Ojo said.
“The law has always been that a challenge to the charge must be taken before plea. It has been the unanimous position of the court. The law is trite that an application must be heard, no matter the perceived weakness or frivolity of that application,” he added.
In the application, Ajudua is praying the court to declare Section 260(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice of Lagos State Law 2011 null and void and inconsistent with Section 36(6)(b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The General had, from his admission and confession in those statements, engaged in diverse acts of criminality, whether in attempting to give gratification to these public officers through his agents or by making payments exceeding N500,000 in cash. The law prescribes punishment ranging from minimum of five years’ imprisonment, as can be seen in Sections 8 and 9 of the Anti-Corruption Law, and over 100 years’ imprisonment as can be gleaned from Section 15(1) of the existing Money Laundering Act at that time,” he said.
Further hearing in the matter has been adjourned till February 27.
Bamaiyi was said to have written to the EFCC, accusing Ajudua and his accomplices of collecting the money between November 2004 and June 2005 to facilitate his release from prison.
“A critical review of Bamaiyi’s statement to the EFCC established that the money was meant to bribe judicial officers. Part of the money was paid to a lawyer to bribe the Attorney General of Lagos State and to ensure that General Bamaiyi’s case is split and tried separately.
“The other persons linked to the illicit transaction whose statements were attached to the proof of evidence denied knowledge of the allegation; General Bamaiyi also admitted the unauthorised use of cell phone while in detention; no evidence of how the funds moved in and out of the prison, no evidence of any of the prison personnel who had knowledge of the movement of the funds apart from a self confessional statement of one of the officers,” Ojo said in the application.