Wednesday, 12 September 2018

EFCC CLOSES N4.7BN FRAUD CASE AGAINST LADOJA

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Tuesday, closed its case against the former Governor of Oyo State, Rasheed Ladoja, charged with N4.7billion fraud before a Federal High Court in Lagos.

Ladoja is charged alongside a former Commissioner for Finance in the state, Waheed Akanbi.

The accused were brought before Justice Mohammed Idris on Dec.14, 2016, but they pleaded not guilty to the eight-count charge preferred against them by the EFCC.
The judge had earlier granted them bails.

Earlier at the resumed trial on Tuesday, Abubakar Madaki, an EFCC operative who gave evidence for EFCC, entered the witness box where he was reminded that he was still under oath.

Counsel to Ladoja, Bolaji Onilenla, in the course of his cross-examination, sought to tender a New Telegraph newspaper publication, dated July 3.

The publication was a petition against the witness, accused of corruption in a criminal charge preferred against him in Nasarawa State. Same was tendered and marked as exhibit H44 as Onilenla ended his cross-examination.

Counsel to the second accused, Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika began his cross-examination. He asked the witness if he had investigated the narration by the second prosecution witness, Atanda, in his statement to the EFCC, stating the disbursements of the N663million proceeds of the sale of Oyo shares.

The witness replied in the affirmative and further told the court that the narrations were confirmed that Atanda had made the payments to himself.

Olumide-Fusika then asked: “Out of the N1.9billion, how much did you trace to the second accused personally?”

Witness: “There was no trace of money to him.”

Olumide-Fusika: “I put it to you that you did not conduct a criminal investigation but a political investigation aimed after both the accused persons.”

Witness: “That is not true.”

Olumide-Fusika finally asked the witness if he was aware that all the mandates given to Fountain Securities on behalf of Oyo for the sale of the shares were signed by the then commissioner for commerce, to which he responded that he was aware.

There was no re-examination, as EFCC prosecutor, Mr Oluwafemi Olabisi, tendered another New Telegraph Newspaper publication, dated June 12 from the bar, which was marked as Exhibit H45.

Counsel to both accused further informed the court that they intended to make a no-case submission to the prosecution’s case and prayed the court for an adjournment.

Justice Mohammed Idris adjourned the case until Sept 27 for adoption of written addresses.

The accused were charged with conspiring to siphon and launder N4.7 billion from the coffers of Oyo State Government. The EFCC also 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. The anti-graft agency claimed that the accused retained the money sometime in 2007 in spite of their knowledge that it was proceeds from a criminal activity.

Ladoja was accused of removing 600,000 pounds from the state coffers in 2007 which he was said to have sent to his daughter, Bimpe, in London. In addition, the ex-governor was accused of converting N42 million belonging to the state for his personal use and subsequently used same to purchase an armoured Land Cruiser.

The EFCC added that Ladoja converted N728 million and N77 million at different times in 2007 for his personal use and transferred same to Bistrum Investments for the purchase of a property in Ibadan.

The offences contravened the provisions of Sections 14, 16, 17 (a) and 18 (1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004, according to the EFCC.

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