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Alleged N4.7bn fraud: Court dismisses Ladoja’s no-case submission

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A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday dismissed a no-case submission by former Gov. Rashidi Ladoja of Oyo State in a case of alleged N4.7 billion fraud.

Ladoja was charged with converting N4.7 billion from Oyo State treasury to his personal use.

He is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He was re-arraigned along with Waheed Akanbi, a former Commissioner for Finance in the state.

They are standing trial on an 11-count charge of money laundering and unlawful conversion of public funds.

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The duo, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

After the close of prosecution’s case, the accused file a no-case submission, contending that the prosecution failed to establish a case against them.

The court then adjourned until Monday, ruling on the submission.

In his ruling on Monday, Justice Mohammed Idris held that based on evidence by the prosecution, the accused had some explanations to make.

“In the light of all the evidence tendered by the prosecution, and in my opinion, the defendants might have to explain the contents of some of those exhibits,” court held.

The court, therefore, dismissed the no-case submission and ordered the accused to begin defence.

Consequently, defence counsel, Mr Bolaji Onilenla, prayed for an adjournment to enable the accused to start defence.

Idris adjourned the case until Nov. 20 for defence to begin.

In the charge, the accused were alleged to have conspired to siphon and launder N4.7 billion from the coffers of Oyo State Government.

The EFCC also accused them of converting the state’s N1.9 billion to 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 from a criminal activity.

Ladoja was accused of removing 600,000 pounds from the state coffers in 2007 and sent to his daughter, Bimpe, in London.

In addition, the ex-governor was accused of converting N42 million belonging to the state to 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 to his personal use and transferred same to Bistrum Investments for the purchase of a property in Ibadan.

The offences contravene 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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