Head of Emmanuel Chambers, Mr. Adebayo Adenipekun (SAN), yesterday refuted allegations that the chamber, founded and owned by legal luminary, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), received a sum of $330,000 from controversial Lagos businessman, Fred Ajudua, as legal fees on behalf of Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi while the retired General was under incarceration at the Kirikiri prison for the alleged attempted murder of publisher of The Guardian, late Mr. Alex Ibru.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had alleged that Ajudua, who met Bamaiyi in prison, colluded with Mrs. Oluronke Rosulu, the registrar (from 2001 – 2006) of Justice Olubunmi Oyewole, formerly of the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja, to defraud Bamaiyi. They maintained that he collected the said amount from the retired general, claiming it would help Bamaiyi in securing the legal services of Chief Babalola.
According to the anti graft agency, Ajudua had also assured Bamaiyi that the money was delivered to Chief Babalola as his professional fees. While giving evidence as prosecution witness yesterday, Adenipekun told the court, presided over by Justice Babajide Lawal-Akapo, that the chamber did not receive any money or brief from Ajudua on behalf of Bamaiyi. “I have been with the Firm since 1991. I started as an associate and was later in charge of its administration since 2000. I became the head of the chamber in 2006 and later Managing Partner in 2011,” he told the court.
He added: “Fred Ajudua did not brief our chamber to represent Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi. At no time did Ajudua brief us. As the head of the administration at the time, we didn’t receive any fee from Ajudua in respect of Bamaiyi.” Rosolu is facing a two-count charge of conspiracy to obtain money by false pretences and obtaining money by false pretences.
The EFCC alleged that she helped Ajudua to funnel the money from Bamaiyi between November 2004 and June 2005. She allegedly visited Bamaiyi and Ajudua thrice at the prison facility and collected the money on Nov.20, 2004. Hearing in the matter continues today.