How Ajudua defrauded me of $1,089,000— Witness

How Ajudua defrauded me of $1,089,000— Witness

By Abdulwahab Abdulah & Jane Echewodo

A prosecution witness, Ziad Abu Zalaf, yesterday, informed a Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, how Fred Ajudua, allegedly defrauded and battered him 25 years ago.

Ajudua, alongside one Joseph Ochunor, are facing a 12-count charge bordering on fraud and conspiracy, brought against them before Justice Mojisola Dada.

He denied the charges slammed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Fred Ajudua

Abu Zalaf, who is a second witness in the ongoing trial, yesterday narrated to the court how he met Ajudua, who defrauded him of $1,089,000.

Led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Seidu Atteh, the witness said sometime in 1993, he met Joseph Ochonor, who made a business proposal to him.

‘How they brought me to Nigeria’

The witness said: “Ochonor, who is now at large, arranged for a visa for me to come to Nigeria from Germany in March 1993.

“When I got to Nigeria, I was picked by one Jerry in a white Limousine jeep and the driver was driving recklessly without even stopping for red light.

“I was checked into a hotel and they said they will come and pick me the next morning by 9a.m., which they did. We headed to Ajudua’s office thereafter, and we met him in the office posing as a legal practitioner.

“He told me he will be representing me as a lawyer and that I should not worry and then took me to a bank and I saw a file in the contract name. A bank official explained to me that there is a fee to be paid. Ajudua also took the file, saying he will go and study it.”

Abu Zalaf , however, told the court that Ajudua instructed Ochonor to give him his bank details and that when he is satisfied after going through the document, he will be called to transfer the money.

The witness continued: “I noticed the piece of paper handed to me has the name and address of someone else, but when I asked him he said the person in question takes care of all his international and local transactions. I thereafter went back to Germany.”

He said he was called to send the money, “so I transferred $268,000 on April 2. I also got a confirmation on April 7, through a phone call, and was also told that I already have a certificate of completion.

“I told him I was going to come down to Nigeria and he asked me to bring additional $375,000. But I told him I only have $300,000.”

Back in Nigeria with $300,000; battered

The Palestinian witness further told the court that when he got to Nigeria that “Ajudua picked the money and dropped it at the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and he got a receipt and later a certificate of completion, which indicated that everything is fine.

“Shortly, he was also asking me for another $521,000, saying it will be the last time I will be paying for the contract. I came with Mr. Michael Kramer and we gave him the money and went back to Germany. But we didn’t hear anything from him again.”

According to Abu Zalaf, he decided to come to Nigeria without informing Ajudua, but was not received in his office, rather he was battered.

He added that “when I got to his office, I was not allowed to see him but I could hear his voice. When I eventually met him, he was angry and shouting at the top of his voice, trying to intimidate me.

“That was then I realised something was very wrong. He called some of his boys, who were dressed in military uniform and they took me out of his office to the compound harassing me.

“They pointed a gun in my mouth. I was hit on my mouth and I lost two of my front teeth. I reported at the German Consulate, where I also lodged a complaint before I left the country.”

The BBC documentary

Continuing, he said: “Later, I saw Ajudua in a documentary made by BBC and some of the victims he duped were shown on TV. I also learned that EFCC is helping the victims.

“I got their e-mail and contacted them. They said they will be glad to help me. I handed over all the documents to them and I came in 2004 to give evidence with EFCC.”

The prosecuting counsel, however, asked for an adjournment because of the documents that are not available to continue the trial.

Counsel to the defendant, Chief Norrison Quakers, did not object to the prosecution’s plea for an adjournment.

He, however, urged the court to admonish the prosecution to reply to his application for bail.

Justice Dada then adjour-ned the matter till June 13.

The post How Ajudua defrauded me of $1,089,000— Witness appeared first on Vanguard News.

Author: Urowayino Warami

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