The Federal High Court, Lagos has adjourned further hearing till Monday, October 9, 2017 in the case of a former Governor of Oyo State, Chief Rashidi Ladoja, who is charged with N4.7 billion fraud.
Ladoja is being tried alongside a former Commissioner for Finance in Oyo State, Waheed Akanbi.
The trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, adjourned on Friday, October 6 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 the proceedings on Friday, but counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Oluwafemi Olabisi, opposed the admissibility of the document, contending that Olumide-Fusika failed to lay proper foundation for its tendering.
But Olumide-Fusika, who maintained that the document, which was supplied to the court by the Oyo State Government, was important to the defence of his client, 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 counsel, 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 bordering on money laundering and unlawful conversion of funds belonging to the Oyo State Government.
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 personal own, using a Guaranty Trust Bank account of a company, Heritage Apartments Limited.
The EFCC claimed 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 N42 million, belonging to the state, to his own and subsequently used it to purchase an armoured Land Cruiser jeep.
He was also accused of converting a sum of N728,600,000 and another N77,850,000 at separate times in 2007 to his own.
The EFCC claimed that Ladoja transferred the N77, 850,000 to one Bistrum Investments, which he nominated to help him purchase a property named Quarter 361, Ibadan, Oyo State.
The EFCC told the court 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.
But ex-governor and ex-commissioner have pleaded not guilty to the allegations.
By Chinyere Obia