Court orders Ajudua to undergo COVID-19 test
Justice Josephine Oyefeso of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ajah has ordered Fred Ajudua to undergo Covid-19 at Yaba Infectious Disease Centre Laboratory, in the presence of the representatives of both the prosecution and defence, and the result must be communicated to the court within 48-hours.
The trial court made the order after defence counsel, Akinwale Kola-Taiwo, informed the court that though Ajudua was present in court premises but pleaded that he should not be made to entre the court room because he has been tested positive for COVID-19.
Ajudua was alleged to have defrauded a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Ishaya Bamaiyi of $8.4 million while they were both in Kirikiri Prison in 2004 for different offences.
The defendant and his accomplices approached Bamaiyi and convinced him that he would hire the legal services at a cost of $8.4million, to help him secure his release from custody.
For over two-years, Bamaiyi has been under cross-examination by the defence after giving his evidence-in-chief on November 26, 2018. The cross-examination of the former Chief of Army Staff has suffered several delays brought about by the defence.
However, at the resume proceedings, Kola-Taiwo told the court that medical report of the defendant shows that he contacted the deadly virus for the first time on January 8, and was tested negative on January 15 after he treated himself through self-medication.
“I’m sincerely sorry for the absence of the defendant. He is downstairs but I don’t think he should be made to enter the court,” his Kola-Taiwo said.
“An associate of the defendant met me and handed over these documents to me. They are medical reports of the defendant testing positive for COVID-19 virus.
“Your lordship, the defendant was tested positive of COVID-19 for the first time on 8/01/2021. He did self-medication and he was tested negative on 15/01/2021. The defendant has underlining health issue. He has been living with one kidney for couple of years now sir.
“Sometimes around October 14 this year while he was in his home town in Delta State, the defendant also contacted COVID-19. The defendant has been medicating ever since, but the condition is deteriorating.
“The latest test was done three days ago on 3/12/21, and the result came out positive again. I was told that the defendant flew in from Delta state last night. We will be praying your lordship for an adjournment to give room for the defendant to be treated for the virus.”‘s
Responding to his submission,the prosecution counsel, Mr. Seidu Atteh query the absence of the lead defence counsel, Mr Olalekan Ojo (SAN).
He says the defence should make all the documents available to the prosecution so that they will conduct their own investigation on the authenticity of the documents.
Atteh said in alternative, the court should invoke Section 235 of the newly passed Administration of Criminal Justice Law( ACJL) of Lagos State, 2014, which states that defendant can be tried in absentia.
“Where is the principal of my learned friend Mr. Olalekan Ojo (SAN), who got today date. Past records of the defendant has made claims of illness.
“The defendant should make available the documents to us so that we can look into it before we make our comment. In alternative, the court should invoke S.235 of ACJL, 2014, because the defendant cannot continue to manipulate the court.
Justice Oyefeso while delivering a bench ruling ordered the defendant to be tested at the laboratory of Yaba Infectious Disease Centre, in the presence of both the prosecution and defence.
The court also ordered defence to file application attached all the medical reports of the defendant before the court.
The judge further directed prosecution to bringing the issue of Section 235 of ACJL, 2014 before the court as an application and subsequently adjourned the matter to February 15, 2022 for continuation of trial.