A former Chief of Army Staff, Gen Ishaya Bamaiyi, on Wednesday denied giving an alleged fraudster, Fred Ajudua, money to bribe Justice Olubunmi Oyewole, who was handling his trial in 2006.
Bamaiyi told Justice Josephine Oyefeso of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja that he only gave Ajudua money to get a good lawyer to secure his freedom.
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.
During cross-examination by the defence counsel, Olalekan Ojo (SAN), Bamaiyi said he agreed to a suggestion by Ajudua to reach out to Justice Oyewole because he was in prison and wanted to gain freedom at all costs.
He said, “He (Ajidua) brought the idea to me and I agreed because I wanted to secure my freedom. If anybody is in trouble, they will do anything to get out of trouble.
“I know it is wrong to compromise a judicial official. I don’t see anything wrong with reaching out to anybody as long as what you want him to do is reasonable.
“He (Ajidua) deceived me; he never told me he was going to pay any judicial official on my behalf. His suggestion to me was to get a good lawyer, not a judicial official.
“He never suggested meeting any official of the Lagos State Government to secure my freedom and I never instructed him to meet anyone on my behalf.”
The retired military officer also denied sending one Daniel Amos to bribe anybody to facilitate his release from prison, adding that he was not aware that Amos had made a written statement on his behalf at the EFCC.
At this stage, the defence counsel called for the original copy of the statement the witness made at the EFCC’ s office from the prosecuting counsel, Seidu Atteh.
But Atteh told the court that he might have mistakenly put it in another matter involving the defendant.
He urged the defence counsel to continue with his cross-examination, promising to produce the statement at the next adjourned date. But Ojo refused, saying the prosecution should not tell him how to cross-examine Bamaiyi and asked for an adjournment.
Ruling on the matter, Justice Oyefeso ordered the prosecuting counsel to provide the relevant documents as required by the defence on the next adjourned date.
Justice Oyefeso subsequently adjourned till May 8 for the continuation of cross-examination and trial.