An Ikeja High Court on Thursday fixed March 31 for ruling on the bail application filed by a Lagos businessman, Fred Ajudua, charged with $1.69m fraud.

Justice Kudirat Jose fixed the date after hearing arguments from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) counsel, Mrs E.A. Sanusi and Ajudua?s counsel, Chief Charles Edosomwan (SAN).

Ajudua and one Charles Orie are being prosecuted for allegedly defrauding two Dutch businessmen ? Messrs Remy Cina and Pierre Vijgen, of $1.69m (about N252.8m).

It will be recalled that they were re-arraigned before Jose on February 5 following the transfer of the case from the former trial judge, Justice Joseph Oyewole.

Orie was on March 12 granted bail while Ajudua is still being remanded at Kirikiri Maximum Prison, Lagos.

Addressing the court on Thursday, Sanusi said the EFCC had filed a 16-paragraph counter affidavit on March 10 opposing Ajudua?s application for bail.

Sanusi argued that there was likelihood that the first defendant (Ajudua) would jump bail and interfere with the prosecution witnesses.

?My Lord, it is a 2003 case and we have not been able to do anything. We have only called six witnesses to testify against the defendants,? she said.

Responding, Edosomwan said there was no proof before the court that his client had interfered with any witness.

According to him, there is overwhelming medical evidence that Ajudua is suffering from a life-threatening ailment.

He argued that Ajudua was ready to face trial contrary to the claim by the EFCC that he absconded after he was granted bail on medical grounds in 2005.

?My Lord, find it in your kind heart to grant the defendant bail,? Edosomwan said.

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