Former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Ishaya Bamaiyi on Wednesday told an Ikeja High Court he gave money to Fred Ajudua to get a very good lawyer to secure his freedom.
He denied claims by the defence that he gave money to Ajudua to bribe Justice Olubunmi Oyewole, who was then handling his trial in 2006 at Ikeja High Court.
Bamaiyi stated this while been crossed examined by counsel to Ajudua, Olalekan Ojo (SAN).
Bamaiyi explained he agreed to suggestion by Ajudua to reach out because he was in prison and wanted to get freedom by all means.
Ajudua is standing trial before Justice Josephine Oyefeso for allegedly defrauding Bamaiyi of $8.4m in 2004 while they were both in custody of the Kirikiri Prisons, Lagos.
The EFCC alleged Ajudua defrauded Bamaiyi of the money while they were both on remand at Kirikiri Prison, Lagos.
While Ajudua was in the prison for an alleged fraud related offence, Bamaiyi was in the facility in relation to the attempt on the life the publisher of The Guardian, Mr Alex Ibru.
General Bamayi was later discharged and acquitted of the alleged offence.
At resume of the proceedings on Wednesday, Ojo reminded Bamaiyi of the oath he took earlier before the court after which he confirmed that he gave money to Ajudua to help him get “a good lawyer” who will bring him out of prison.
Responding to questions from Ojo, Gen. Bamaiyi said: “I agreed with Ajudua’s suggestion because I believe they were truthful.
“He brought the idea to me and I agreed because I wanted to secure my freedom. If anybody is in trouble, he will do anything to get out of trouble”.
Bamaiyi maintained that he knows it is wrong for anyone to offer any judicial official bribe.
“I know it is wrong to compromise a judicial official. I don’t see anything wrong in reaching out to anybody as long as what you are sending him for is reasonable.
“He deceived me, he never told me he was going to pay any judicial official on my behalf. His suggestion to me is to get a very good lawyer, not judicial official,” he maintained.
Bamaiyi however said Ajudua never suggested meeting officials of Lagos State Government to him and that he never sent him to bribe any official on his behalf.
He also denied sending one Daniel Amos to bribe anybody to facilitate his release from prison.
Asked by Ojo the number of times he sent errand to any judicial officer, Bamaiyi said: ”I never did”.
He also told the court that he was not aware that Daniel Amos made a written statement on his behalf at the EFCC but that he personally made some statements at the commission’s office.
“I can remember I wrote one of such statement in June 2006 but I can’t recollect when I wrote other statements.”
At this stage, the defence counsel, Ojo then called for the original copy of the statement the witness made at the EFCC’s office from the prosecuting counsel, Seidu Atteh.
Atteh told the court that he might have mistakenly put it in another matter involving the defendant.
Atteh, urged the defence counsel to continue with his cross-examination on other areas promising to produce the statement at the next adjourned date.
But Ojo refused, insisting the prosecution lacks the competence to dictate to him how to conduct his cross-examination of Bamaiyi and asked for an adjournment.
Ruling on the matter, Justice Josephine Oyefeso held that the prosecution cannot tell the defence how to conduct its cross-examination.
She thereafter 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 continuation of cross examination and trial.