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5 Nov 2018

N4.7bn Fraud: EFCC Re-Arraigns Ladoja

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday re-arraigned former Oyo State Governor Rashidi Ladoja over alleged N4.7 billion fraud.

The re-arraignment followed an amendment of the charge by the EFCC.

Ladoja was charged with converting N4.7 billion from the state treasury to his personal use.

He was re-arraigned along with his former Commissioner for Finance Waheed Akanbi, on 11 counts of money laundering and unlawful conversion of public funds.
They however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In the amended charge, EFCC added that Ladoja allegedly “compelled” a broker to sell the state’s shares.

The prosecution alleged that the former governor did not remit the N1.9 billion realised from the sale of the shares.

The commission told the court that the money allegedly went to Ladoja, his family and friends and was not refunded.

EFCC had closed its case before the amendment, but rather than open their defence, the accused opted to file no-case submissions.

Moving the no-case submissions on Monday, Ladoja’s lawyer, Mr Bolaji Onilenla, said EFCC did not establish a prima facie case against his client.

During trial, a prosecution’s witness, Mr Abubakar Madaki, an EFCC Investigator, had testified that the shares, worth N6.6billion, were sold without the state executive council’s resolution.

According to the investigator, 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.

However, Ladoja’s counsel had faulted Madaki’s evidence, arguing 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,” Onilenla said.

Counsel for Akanbi, Mr Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN), said what the prosecution witnesses testimonies were not sufficient to ask the accused to enter a defence.

“We urge the court to uphold the no-case submission of the second defendant,” he said.

But the prosecutor, Mr Olabisi Oluwafemi, urged the court to order the accused to open their defence.
He said the evidence given by the prosecution witnesses had raised several questions for which the accused persons should be called upon to answer.

Justice Mohammed Idris adjourned until November 12 for continuation of hearing.

(NAN)

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