N4.7bn fraud: Court adjourns trial of ex-Oyo gov till Monday
By Onozure Dania
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos yesterday adjourned the continuation of trial of former Governor of Oyo State, Chief Rashidi Ladoja who is facing a charge of N4.7billion fraud till Monday October 9.
Ladoja is standing trial alongside a former Commissioner for Finance in Oyo State, Waheed Akanbi.
At the resumed hearing of the case yesterday Justice Mohammed Idris, adjourned at the instance of Akanbi’s lawyer, Mr. Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika, who requested that an official of Oyo State should be summoned by the court to tender some documents as exhibits.
Olumide-Fusika had attempted to tender the document during proceedings, but counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Oluwafemi Olabisi, opposed the admissibility of the document, contending that Olumide-Fusika failed to lay proper foundation for it.
Olumide-Fusika however maintained that the document, which was supplied to the court by the Oyo State Government, was important to the defence of his client and urged the court to summon an official of Oyo State Government to appear in court for the purpose of properly tendering the document as an exhibit.
Ladoja’s lawyer, Mr. Bolaji Onilenla, did not oppose the application for adjournment.
Consequently, Justice Idris adjourned the case till Monday to allow for the invitation and appearance of an official of the Oyo State Government.
Ladoja and Akanbi are facing eight-counts charge bordering on money laundering and unlawful conversion of funds belonging to the Oyo State Government to their own.
In one of the counts, Ladoja and Akanbi were accused of converting a sum of N1,932,940,032.48, belonging to Oyo State Government to their own, using a Guaranty Trust Bank account of a company, Heritage Apartments Limited.
The EFCC said that they retained the money sometime in 2007, despite their knowledge that it was a proceed of a criminal conduct.
In another instance, Ladoja was accused of removing the sum of £600,000 from the state coffers in 2007 and sent it to Bimpe Ladoja, who was at the time in London.
The ex-governor was also accused of converting the sum of N42m, belonging to the state, to his personal use and subsequently used it to purchase an armoured Land Cruiser jeep.
He was further accused of converting a sum of N728,600,000 and another N77,850,000 at separate times in 2007 to his own.
The anti-graft agency further claimed that Ladoja transferred the N77, 850,000 to one Bistrum Investments, which he nominated to help him purchase a property named Quarter 361, in Ibadan, Oyo State.
The commission said that Ladoja and Akanbi acted contrary to sections 17(a) and18 (1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004 and were liable to be punished under sections 14(1), 16(a) (b) and 18(2) of the same Act.
The ex-governor and ex-commissioner have however pleaded not guilty to the allegations.
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