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N4.7bn Fraud: Ladoja Receives N1.9bn In Cash ...Court Summons Oyo AGF, Other

A prosecution witness, in the ongoing trial of former Oyo State Governor, Alhaji Rashidi Ladoja, and his Commissioner for Finance, Waheed Akanbi, Mr. Waheed Atanda, on Friday, told a Federal High Court stting in Lagos that the former Oyo State Governor, Mr. Rashidi Ladoja, received the sum of N1. 9 billion without going through any financial institutions.

This is as Federal High Court presided over by Justice Mohammed Idris summoned the Oyo State's Attorney-General, and one Yinka Fatoki of Oyo State Ministry of Commerce and Industry, to appear before it tomorrow, for the purpose of tendering some vital documents in the ongoing trial of the former Oyo State Governor.

The court had earlier summoned the duo to tender the said vital documents, however, when the matter came up today, lawyer to Ladoja complained that the service of earlier summon on the two government officials, they decided to treat the court's directives with levity. Consequent which Justice Idris reaffirmed his earlier order.

At the resumed trial of the former governor on Wednesday, former Senior Special Executive Assistant to Ladoja, Atanda while being cross-examine by Mr. Bolaji Onilenla, lawyer to Ladoja, said the sum of N1.9 billion received by Ladoja was paid to him without gusing bank's account.

However, Justice Mohammed Idris, has frowned at the attitude of Oyo State's Attorney-General, and one Yinka Fatoki of Oyo State's Ministry of Commerce and Industry, for ignoring a subpoena served on them to appear before the court.

However, the EFCC Witness while being cross-examine by Onilenla,  informed the court that the two Landcruiser (one armoured and one ordinary) he bought for the Oyo State government during Ladoja's regime, was at the instance of the former senator, who had earlier expressed interest that he wanted to acquire the two vehicles.

He also stated that due to the petitions to the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) and EFCC, the monies for the two vehicles were paid back to him but this drafts were made payable to the EFCC.

The witness further said on Quarter 361 paid for by him, that the Oyo State government refunded him but the draft was made payable to the EFCC.

He also insisted that he got a facility of N80 million from Wema Bank Plc, which was paid to V. T. Leasing Limited, to purchase the 20 vehicles for the State lawmakers during Ladoja's impeachment saga.

On disposing the Oyo State government's shares, the witness stated that a meeting was held in April 2007, where how to dispose the share was discussed.

Present at the meeting according to the witness are: Commissioner for Commerce and Industry; Commissioner for Finance (the second defendant); Biodun Kola Daisi, managing director of Fountain Trust Security Limited (the Oyo State government official broker), Mr. Greg Usu of Mc Lay Trust Limited, and Bola Balogun of City Trust Limited.

He stated that the the broking firms were asked to make offers on the stocks that were put up for sale, and that the recommendation reached at the meeting was made known to Ladoja.

On the N350 million paid to the group of lawyers that handled Ladoja's court cases from State High Court to Supreme Court. The witness stated that the initial fees was N35 million, but midway to the case, the lawyers approached them and said the money have to be increased to N350 million, as they will be heading to Supreme Court.

He stated that he personally contributed N35 million but did not know what Senator Ladoja contributed. Adding that his law firm under the name Ade Atanda & CO., was paid the sum of N94 million, Ladoja was restored back to office.

The matter has been adjourned till Thursday, for continuation of cross-examination of the witness.

Ladoja alongside his Commissioner  for Finance, Akanbi, are standing trial before Justice Mohammed Idris court on eight counts of money laundering.

They were accused of conspiring among themselves to siphon N4.7 billion from the coffers of the state and launder same.

In one instance, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, who is prosecuting them, accused them of converting a sum of N1, 932, 940, 032. 48 belonging to Oyo State to their personal own, using a Guaranty Trust Bank account of a company, Heritage Apartments Limited.

The EFCC claimed that they retained the money sometime in 2007, despite their knowledge that it was proceeds of a criminal conduct.

In another instance, Ladoja was accused of removing a sum of £600,000 from the state coffers in 2007 and sent it to Bimpe Ladoja, who was at the time in London.

The ex-governor was also accused of converting a sum of N42m belonging to the state to his own and subsequently used it to purchase an armoured Land Cruiser Jeep.

He was also accused of converting a sum of N728, 600, 000 and another N77, 850, 000, at separate times in 2007 to his own.

The EFCC claimed that Ladoja transferred the N77, 850,000 to one Bistrum Investments, which he nominated to help him purchase a property named Quarter 361, Ibadan, Oyo State.

The EFCC told the court that Ladoja and Akanbi acted contrary to sections 17(a) and18 (1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004 and were liable to be punished under sections 14(1), 16(a) (b) and 18(2) of the same Act.

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