Former Chief of Army Staff, General Ishaya Bamaiyi, today told an Ikeja High Court how a court registrar, Ms. Rosulu Idowu Oluronke, aided a serial fraudster, Fred Ajudua, in defrauding him of $330,000.
The money according to Bamaiyi was meant for a part payment for professional fees charged by Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) to handle his trail for attempted murder of the publisher of The Guardian, Alex Ibru and two others.
Testifying before the presiding judge, Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo, Bamaiyi explained that he met Ajudua and Alumile Adedeji a.k.a. Ade Bendel at Kirikiri maximum prison, while being remanded there.
Led in-evidence by the prosecutor, Seidu Atteh, Bamaiyi further told the court that Rosulu (defendant), who was then Justice Oyewole’s registrar, visited him three times at Kirikiri maximum prison in respect of the payment for Chief Babalola’s professional fees.
“On November 23, 1999, I was in cell 5 (first floor) at Kirikiri maximum prison. Later Ajudua and Ade Bendel were brought in at the block. I and Ajudua were together in my cell, so we became friends. Ajudua told me that he is a lawyer and has studied my case, and found out it is purely a political one. Ajudua told me that he was interested in the case and has sent his wife to see the Lagos Chief Judge (CJ), Justice Ade Alabi (retired) and the state Attorney General (AG), Professor Yemi Osinbajo, over the matter. I was told that the CJ was the one in contact with Chief Babalola,” Bamaiyi stated.
According to the retired army general, Ajudua later told him that based on the advice of the CJ and AG, (Justice Alabi and Prof. Osinbajo) there was need for the case to be handled by Chief Babalola who would facilitate his release from prison custody.
He said: “I was told that Chief Babalola charged $18million as professional fees. I was then told that the money was to be paid through Justice Oyewole. Ajudua told me that Justice Oyewole was going to send his registrar (Rosulu).
“On October 23, 2004 (1st visit) the defendant, Rosulu, came with Ajudua at the prison and confirmed to me that she was sent by Justice Oyewole. She came with Ajudua to the visiting room, alongside a prison officer, ACP Abdullahi Garuba.
“On November 6, 2004 at 10am, (2nd visit) the defendant, Rosulu, came with Ajudua at the prison, alongside ACP Garuba. This time she came with her daughter whom she said was from the University. The defendant assured me that any money released through Justice Oyewole would get to Chief Babalola.
“Before the defendant’s 3rd visit on November 20, 2004, a friend of mine had arranged $330,000 for me. The money was brought in a ‘Ghana-Must-Go’ to the prison. I showed Ajudua the money and he said he will assign one Jonathan to accompany us in counting the money. The money was counted in the presence of the defendant (Rosulu) the prison officer (ACP Garuba).”
The retired army general (Bamaiyi) maintained that after counting the money, Rosulu carried the bag and Ajudua saw them off to the gate.
“That evening, Ajudua told me that the defendant (Rosulu) called and confirmed delivering the said money to Justice Oyewole and same had been taken to Chief Babalola. I have never met her again until December 19, 2013 at the Lagos office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Not hearing from Chief Babalola after a while, then Ajudua had travelled to India, I suspected that something was wrong,”
He said he later reported the matter to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and an investigation was conducted on the matter.
Under cross examination by the defendant’s lawyer, Bamidele Ogundele, Bamaiyi however noted that there was no receipt for the money which he gave to the registrar.
He also said that he did not see the registrar for seven years after the alleged fraud.
Further trail on the matter continues tomorrow.
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