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EFCC Re-arraigns Ladoja, Aide For N4.7bn Fraud



Ten years after he was first charged to court, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday re-arraigned former governor of Oyo State, Rashidi Ladoja and one of his aides, Waheed Akanbi, before the Federal High Court in Lagos for alleged N4.7 billion fraud.

Ladoja and Akanbi, who were first arraigned in 2008 before Justice Ramat Mohammed, were re-arraigned for the second time before Justice Mohammed Idris on an 11-count amended charge of conspiracy, money laundering, fraud and unlawful conversion.

Shortly after they were arraigned before Justice Mohammed, the accused challenged the validity of the charges up to the Supreme Court for seven years before the apex court in 2015 dismissed their appeal and sent them back to the high court to face trial.

They were subsequently re-arraigned on December 14, 2016 before Justice Idris at the Federal High Court in Lagos.

On September 12, after the prosecution closed its case against the duo, the defence counsel hinted that he would file an application for no-case submission on behalf of his clients.

But before Justice Idris could hear the application, EFCC’S counsel, Olufemi Olabisi filed fresh amended 11 -count charge against the defendants.

Ladoja’s counsel, Bolaji Onilenla, however, challenged the competence of the charge to hear the case.

At yesterday’s proceedings, he prayed the court to dismiss the fresh charges filed against his client because they are oppressive and abused the court’s processes.

But the prosecutor, Olabisi, urged the court to discountenance Ladoja’s counsel submission, saying that the act to file fresh charge against any defendant at any stage of trial by the prosecution is in tandem with the constitution and the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA).

After listening to the submissions of both parties, Justice Idris ruled in favour of the prosecution.

Like in the past, they pleaded not guilty to the charge and the court granted the defence lawyers’ prayers that the duo should continue with the previous bail granted them.

After the arraignment, the court ordered Ladoja and Akanbi counsel to move their no case submission applications, which they filed.

Ladoja’s counsel submitted that EFCC had not been able to link his client to the alleged offence pressed against him.

He submitted that all the exhibit tendered by the prosecution witnesses were not certified by the appropriate authorities which made it evidence of hearsay.

Justice Idris therafter fixed November 12 to rule on the applications.





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