A former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi, on Monday narrated to a Lagos State High Court how he was defrauded of $8.4m by an alleged fraudster, Fred Ajudua, on the pretext of influencing a trial judge handling the general’s case.
Ajudua is being tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for allegedly defrauding Bamaiyi of $8.4m while the duo were at Kirikiri Prison, Lagos.
The EFCC said the offence was contrary to sections 8(a) and 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud Related Offences Act. No. 13 of 1995 as amended by Act No. 62 of 1999.
At the Monday’s proceedings, Bamaiyi, while being led in evidence by the EFCC prosecutor, Seidu Ateh, said Ajudua convinced him, saying he was helping him to engage the services of a senior lawyer, Afe Babalola (SAN), and to also influence Justice S.Oyewole, who was handling the general’s case of alleged murder of Alex Ibru.
Bamaiyi who noted that the sums collected from him were always penned down in diaries he kept, said, Ajudua collected money from him and his associates six times in 2004 while he collected money from him or other people he sent 19 times in 2005.
He said, “When he was on admission at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and in prison, my friends and personal staff delivered money to him. He also collected money from my wife twice, one inside the prison and the other one outside the prison.
“Anytime money was released by me or any of my staff, I recorded them in my diary. In 2004, he collected money six times and in 2005, he collected money 19 times.
“There was a time I was worried and he was on bail then. I demanded to meet Chief Afe Babalola. Thereafter, one Barrister Richard Oma came and met me in prison. He claimed to come from the chambers of Chief Afe Babalola. But to my surprise, he did not come with any letter from Chief Afe Babalola’s chambers.
“Later, he came with another letter which did not bear any logo of Chief Afe Babalola’s chambers to me in the prison custody. I collected the letter from him.
“Also one man named Kenneth came to me in the prison custody and he claimed to be from the Department of State Security Services. He said he came from General Aliyu Gusau, the then National Security Adviser. He said Gusau and Obasanjo had met and they discussed my issue and they wanted to be assured that I would not cause trouble if I was released from the custody.
“I told him I had no problem with the president. He told me to write an undertaking that I would not cause trouble if I was released. I told him I’d not write any undertaking,” Bamaiyi said.
The general added, “On November 22, 2004, in the presence of ACP Garba, a prison warder, I gave the sum of $20,000 to one Jonathan who was the personal assistant of the defendant. On November 30th, my wife Imuade, brought $400,000 and I counted the money and Jonathan his boy went away with the money.
“On December 4, 2004, the defendant’s boy, Jonathan, came with somebody who said he was the orderly of Justice Oyewole and the sum of $1.5m was counted before it was handed to Jonathan. On December 16, 2004, my ADC Chechet, brought in $1m and gave the money to the defendant in the visitors waiting room.
“At about 6pm, the defendant called me and told me that his wife was in the house of the then Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ade Alabi waiting for Chief Afe Babalola. He called his wife to confirm and at about 11pm, the defendant called to tell me that Chief Afe Babalola had collected the money.”