LAGOS socialite, Mr. Fred Ajudua, Wednesday sought a fresh bail from an Ikeja High Court, Lagos presided over by a vacation judge, Justice Ganiyu Safari.
Ajudua, charged along side Charles Hijiudu, for allegedly defrauding two Dutch businessmen – Mr. Remy Cina and Pierre Vijgen – of about $1.69 million was earlier denied bail by Justice Olubunmi Oyewole, who presided over his trial, on June 27, 2013.
Oyewole had ruled that Ajudua had failed to present convincing materials to back his claim that he would not escape from trial after doing so for seven years when he was earlier granted bail in 2005.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had in 2003 arraigned Ajudua and Hijiudu, for the alleged offence committed between July 1999 and September 2000.
But his counsel, Olalekan Ojo, arguing the fresh application dated August 19, 2013, yesterday, said there were fresh facts, which emerged after his client was last denied bail by Justice Oyewole.
According to Ojo, after Oyewole denied bail to Ajudua, the accused person was rushed to the emergency unit of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, when his condition deteriorated.
However, the EFCC, through its counsel, Mr. Wemimo Ogunde (SAN), opposed the application, saying Ajudua did not deserve any fresh bail.
The lawyer argued that Ajudua would escape if granted fresh bail as he did when he was granted bail on health grounds in 2005.
Responding to the EFCC’s opposition, Ojo, however, maintained that a judge was not bound by the decision of another judge of a coordinate jurisdiction.
He cited the case of Federal Republic of Nigeria vs. Alhaji Bulama, in which the Court of Appeal ruled that an accused was entitled to file a fresh application in the face of fresh facts.
Ojo said, “The law allows a fresh application for bail pending trial to be filed by an accused applicant where there are changed circumstances different from the circumstances that were in existence as of the time the initial or previous application for bail was refused.”
But Ogunde said the EFCC’s affidavit opposing the application, accused of having had record of “previous escape for seven years even confirmed by judicial decisions”.
He said it was confirmed in some of the court’s decisions that the accused had travelled to India in 2005 for treatment but failed to return when he got well.
Ogunde said: “He escaped for seven years. People were even accusing me that I was compromised and that was why I did not oppose the bail. The defendant had enjoyed liberal terms in the past. If he is granted fresh bail, who knows if he is going to take another seven years to return.
“This is not a vindictive opposition; it is an opposition that we must make as responsible prosecution. We owe it to the state that the defendant is properly prosecuted.”
Ruling on the matter has been adjourned till September 10.