The fraud trial of a Fred Ajudua a lawyer continued on Thursday with a German citizen, Zaid Abu Zalaf narrating before an Ikeja Special Offences Court sitting in Lagos how Ajudua, allegedly conned him of $1m.
Abu Zalaf recounted that Ajudua duped him 25 years ago when he came to Nigeria to start up a business.
Zalaf told the court that he was still learning about business as a young man in 1993 when he spoke to Ajudua on the phone through two Germans, one Chehad and Dizenko.
Nigerian Tribune recalls that Ajudua was arraigned alongside one Joseph Ochunor (now at large) by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) on a 12-count charge bordering on conspiracy, fraud, obtaining money by false pretence, forgery and uttering of a forged document.
While being cross-examined by Ajudua’s lawyer, Olalekan Ojo SAN, Zalaf said: “after Chehad and Dizenko introduced me to an oil contract marked NNPC/AA/80241/79, I had a telephone conversation with the defendant which thereafter propelled my business trip to Nigeria”.
The businessman who is the first prosecution witness insisted that if he did not speak to Ajudua on the phone he would not have come to Nigeria as at the time he came in 1993.
“I don’t know whether Mr Chehad and Dizeko are businessmen when I met them in Germany. It was Chehad and Dizeko that contacted me of the business proposal in Germany.
“They contacted me of the oil contract. I held the meeting with them in the house I used to live in. It was inside the meeting that they suggested the contract. They said they don’t have the facility and that I could take advantage of that because I have the facility.
“They said the money involved was $28,000,000.00 million and the money will be transferred to my company account.
“I spoke to the defendant on phone. He was aware that I was coming. If I did not speak to him on the phone how did he know I was coming?
“I said was a young man when I was conned 25 years ago while still learning how to do business then.
Abu Zalaf claimed that he was not aware of currency regulation law both at the point of departure in Germany and point of entry in Nigeria when he came in 1993.
Zalaf said he did not bring any cash to Nigeria when he came for the first time in 1993, but maintained that he brought a cash of $225,000 to Nigeria on his second trip.
“As at the time I came in 1993, I was not aware of any currency regulation law both at the point of departure in Germany and point of entry in Nigeria.
“I didn’t bring any cash the first time I came to Nigeria. I brought only a suitcase when I came to Nigeria for the second time. It was on my second visit that I brought $225, 000. I don’t recall having any document to show that I brought cash to Nigeria.
“in 1993, I was learning in terms of documentation but now I know the importance of documentation. We are expecting to get the contract and get money for the spare parts. And When we get the job done, we will get the balance,” Zalaf said.
He also said he met Ajudua and his business associate Joseph Ochunor (now at large) in the defendant’s office and gave account details of where the money will be paid to.
“In his office, he introduced me to Joseph Ochunor his business associate who gave details of the account to be transferred money to,” the witness maintained.
Justice Mojisola Dada thereafter adjourned the matter to February 11 and 12, 2019 for the continuation of the trial