A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday dismissed a no case submissions application filed by a former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja and one of his aides, Waheed Akanbi, calling on them to open their defence on the allegations of N4.7 billion fraud brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
According to the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, with the preponderance of evidence put forward by the EFCC, the defendants has some explanations to made.
The judge held, “I have refused to consider the issue of whether or not I will belief the evidence. I have also refused to consider the question of credibility of witnesses at this stage.
“In the light of all the evidences that has been tendered by the prosecution and in my respective opinion, the defendants might have to explain the contents of some of those exhibits”, the judge held.
Afterwards, Ladoja’s lawyer, Bolaji Onilenla, sought an adjournment till next week Tuesday for his client to open his defence.
Other defence lawyer, A. Olumide-Fusika (SAN) and the EFCC’s lawyer, Olabisi Oluwafemi, were also in agreement with Onilenla’s request.
The matter was subsequently adjourned by Justice Idris to 20th November, 2018 by 1pm for the defendants to open their case.
The duo had in their no case submissions argued that the prosecution did not establish any prima facie case against them to warrant them being called upon to open their defence.
The former governor and his aide were for the second time in about two years re-arraigned on 5th November, 2018, by the anti-graft agency before the court over alleged N4.7 billion fraud.
The duo who were docked on an 11-count charge bordering on money laundering and unlawful conversion of public funds however denied the offence.
The case has been on since November 2008 when Ladoja and his aide were first arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a 10-count charge over the alleged offence before Justice Ramat Mohammed, who was then serving at the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court.
After the initial arraignment, the matter suffered several hitches until the 14th of December, 2016, when the duo were re-arraigned before Justice Mohammed Idris by the anti-graft agency on an 8-count amended charge of money laundering contrary to Section 17(a) and punishable under Section 14(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004.
In the latest charge, EFCC accused Ladoja of “compelling” a broker to sell the state’s shares while he also failed to remit N1.9 billion realized from the sale of the shares. The anti-graft agency alleged that the money went to Ladoja, his family and friends.