The former governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja was re-arraigned yesterday over alleged N4.7 billion fraud by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
He was rearraigned before Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court in sitting in Lagos following the amended charged filed by the EFCC alleged converting N4.7 billion from the state treasury to his personal use.
Ladoja was re-arraigned alongside his former commissioner for finance, Waheed Akanbi, on 11 counts charge of money laundering and unlawful conversion of public funds.
Their offences contravene the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004, according to the EFCC.
They pleaded not guilty to all the count the charges.
The EFCC in the amended charge alleged that the former governor “compelled” a broker to sell the state’s shares, adding that he did not remit N1.9 billion realised from the sale of the shares.
The anti-graft commission further alleged that the money went to Mr Ladoja, his family and friends and was not refunded.
The accused person had file no-case submissions, after the prosecution had closed its case before amended the charge.
While moving his no-case submissions yesterday, counsel to former governor, Bolaji Onilenla told court that EFCC did not establish a prima facie case against his client.
Also, counsel for second accused person, Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN) in his submission told court that the prosecution witnesses
testimonies were not sufficient to ask the accused to enter a defence.
He urged the court to uphold the no-case submission of the second defendant.
However, earlier during trial, a prosecution’s witness, Abubakar Madaki, an EFCC investigator, had testified that the shares, worth N6.6 billion, were sold without the state executive council’s resolution.
He told court that Ladoja engaged Fountain Securities as a portfolio manager to sell the shares at a discounted rate, adding that the shares were acquired by McLace Securities.
First accused (Ladoja) counsel had faulted the witness evidence. He argued that there were “no complaints by the state that the shares were sold illegally. We urge the court to hold that there was no prima-facie case against the first defendant and we urge the court to
discharge and acquit him accordingly.”
While EFCC counsel prayed the court to order the accused to open their
defence, adding that the evidence given by the prosecution witnesses had raised several questions for which the accused persons should be called upon to answer.
The trial judge subsequently adjourned until November 12 for a continuation of hearing.
The anti-graft commission alleged that the accused persons conspired to divert and launder N4.7 billion from the coffers of Oyo State Government.
Also the commission accused them of converting N1.9 billion
belonging to the state for their personal use through the account of a company known as Heritage Apartments Ltd. Claimed that the accused retained the money sometime in 2007 in spite of the knowledge that it proceeded from a criminal activity.
The offences contravene the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004,according to the EFCC.