The trial of Lagos socialite, Fred Ajudua, for allegedly defrauding Lt-Gen Ishaya Bamaiyi (rtd) of $8.4 million, was on Monday stalled due to his lack of legal representation.
The trial is one of the oldest in the Lagos State Judiciary.
It has suffered a lot of setbacks due to adjournments attributed to a number of factors, some of which are the alleged health challenges of the defendant, his absence in court and inability of the court to sit.
Ajudua informed an Ikeja High Court handling the case on Monday that he no longer needed the services of his legal team.
The accused informed the court of his decision through a letter.
He had requested for a six-week adjournment to enable him to either reconcile with the team or hire a new team.
Ajudua, who had been represented by Norrison Quakers (SAN), Olalekan Ojo (SAN) and Alex Agbaka, however, did not say why he took the decision.
Responding, Temitope Banjo, Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) prosecuting Ajedua, told the court that Ajudua’s decision was a ploy to delay his trial.
“I am not aware that he is withdrawing the services of his lawyers; we do not have a copy of the letter.
“The defendant had filed a similar application in his case before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court; this is a ploy to delay the trial.
“I agree he has the right to counsel of his choice, but this should not be a ploy to delay the trial,” Banjo said.
In her ruling, Justice Josephine Oyefeso warned Ajudua to have legal representation and avoid stalling the trial on the next adjourned date, or forfeit his bail.
“If you fail to have representation and stall the trial, your bail will be revoked,” she said.
Oyefeso adjourned the case until Nov. 20 for trial.
Ajudua is being tried by the EFCC for allegedly defrauding Bamaiyi, a former Chief of Army Staff, while they were both in custody in the Kirikiri Prisons, Lagos, in 2004.
Bamaiyi was remanded for treason while Ajudua was in custody for fraud-related offences.
Ajudua and some others allegedly convinced Bamaiyi that they could hire the legal services of Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) to secure his freedom.
Bamaiyi allegedly gave Ajudua $8.4 million as the legal fee.
The law chamber of Afe Babalola and Co., however, issued a disclaimer, disassociating itself from the matter. (NAN)