Alleged N4.7bn Fraud: Court Ends Ladoja’s Trial, Reserves Judgment

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Senator-Adewolu-Ladoja
Senator Adewolu Ladoja

A Federal High Court Lagos on Monday, reserved judgment in the criminal case against a former Governor of Oyo State, Rashidi Ladoja, and one of his aides, Waheed Akanbi, charged with N4.7 billion fraud.

Justice Mohammed Idris reserved his judgment after counsel representing parties had adopted their final addresses before the court.

Ladoja was charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with converting N4.7billion from the State’s treasury to his personal use.

He was re-arraigned along with Akanbi, his former Commissioner for Finance on 11 counts charge of money laundering and unlawful conversion of public funds.

They had pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bails.

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that pieces of evidence in the trial closed on November 17, after Ladoja had given his evidence before the court.

The court had then adjourned for the adoption of final addresses.

Adopting his address on Monday, the prosecutor, Mr Oluwafemi Olabisi urged the court to hold that the prosecution had been able to establish its case against the accused based on pieces of evidence adduced.

He argued that the crux of the prosecution’s case centred on money received as proceeds of crime.

According to him, offences of this nature do not give room for acknowledgement of monies taken from government coffers.

He added that the court was enjoined to look at circumstantial pieces of evidence in arriving at its decision.

Olabisi urged the court to discountenance pieces of evidence adduced by defence witnesses, and hold that the prosecution had been able to establish its case against the accused.

On his part, defense counsel, Mr Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika urged the court to discharge and acquit the accused on the grounds that the prosecution had a weak case incapable of securing any conviction.

“If there is no foundation, the superstructure cannot stand,” he said.

Olumide-Fusika argued that no prosecution witness was able to link the accused with the alleged offences, adding that the prosecution was only concerned with securing a conviction at all cost.

Besides, defense argued that the statement used by the prosecutor in his written address that “the second defendant in the very least, did conspire to commit the offence” was incapable of establishing his guilt.

He urged the court to be sensitive to pieces of evidence adduced as PW2 who testified as having engaged in the sale of the Oyo State shares was never charged.

In all, he urged the court to discharge and acquit the accused as there was no shred of pieces of evidence against them, adding that the pieces of evidence by prosecution witnesses, even supports the innocence of the accused.

After listening to the submissions of counsel, Justice Idris commended them for seeing the trial to conclusion.

He informed parties that his judgment would be reserved, and that hearing notices would be sent to counsel in a short while.

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