- Charge against Fred Ajudua was filed in 2013 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
- EFCC says Fred Ajudua claimed that the money was to facilitate a contract of $18 million
- There have been series of adjournments
- EFCC has consistently failed to bring witnesses to court
- Witnesses say they cannot come to Nigeria because of recent cases of Ebola
Fraud-accused Lagos lawyer and businessman, Fred Ajudua, was on Wednesday freed of charges against him brought before a Lagos high court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2003.
Another person also accused alongside Mr Ajudua was Alex Okorie.
The EFCC had alleged that Mr Ajudua and Mr Okorie had swindled their victims, claiming that the money was for sundry payments to various government officials.
The EFCC further alleged that the defendants claimed that the payments would help them to facilitate a contract worth $18 million on behalf of the complainants.
Series of adjournments
The matter had suffered series of adjournments, as the crimes commission had failed to produce some key foreign witnesses in the case.
Ajudua had at one time requested for bail, citing ill health, but the request was refused by the court.
Fear of Ebola
The EFCC, again on Wednesday, failed to produce any of the foreign witnesses in the case.
Counsel to the EFCC, Mrs E.A Sanusi, told the court that some of the principal witnesses in the matter had emphatically refused to come to Nigeria to give evidence in the matter citing the recent outbreak of Ebola in the country.
“In the circumstance, the EFCC had no other option but to ask for the withdrawal of the charge,” she said.
Following the EFCC’s request, Justice Kudirat Ajose subsequently ordered that Ajudua be discharged of the charges.
However, another case, where Ajudua is accused of allegedly defrauding Former Chief of Army Staff, Gen Ishaya Bamaiyi, of $8.4 million while they were both in custody at Kirikiri Prison in Lagos between November 2004 and June 2005, is still pending before Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of the same Lagos court.