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N4.7 bn: EFCC To Re-arraign Ladoja, Aide December 14

A former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, and one of his aides, Chief Waheed Akanbi, will on December 14 be re-arraigned at a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over an alleged N4.7billion fraud.

The defendants will appear before the court presided over by Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court in Lagos.

Justice Idris fixed the new date for hearing following a ruling on an application by the EFCC, seeking the issuance of a bench warrant on the accused persons having failed to appear in court to answer to the charges on earlier dates.

The commission had earlier in November 2008 arraigned the Senator Ladoja and his aide on a ten-count charge offence before Justice Ramat Mohammed.

In his ruling yesterday, Justice Idris turned down the request of the defence for a stay of proceedings in the matter pending the outcome of an appeal lodged at the Supreme Court against the ruling of the Lagos Division of the Appeal Court .

The Court of Appeal had held that the commission has power to prosecute under the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2004 and ordered the trial of the accused persons.

According to the judge, the request was against the provisions of Section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.

Justice Idris also dismissed the objection of Ladoja’s lawyer, Bolaji Onilenla, to the appearance of the prosecution’s lawyer, Olabisi Oluwayemi (from Festus Keyamo’s chambers), to appear in the matter.

Onilenla had challenged  the prosecutorial power of the prosecuting lawyer.

He submitted that the fiat to prosecute was exclusively given to Festus Keyamo and that the fiat cannot be transferred to any other person in Keyamo’s chambers.

The trial judge faulted the lawyer’s submission, saying the EFCC is in a better position to raise such an objection.

The court also refused to make any order for the arrest of the accused persons as was requested by the EFCC owing to the appearance of Ladoja and his co-accused in court yesterday.

Justice Idris held: “The court will not make any order for arrest in the light of the appearance of the accused persons in court”.

He subsequently adjourned the matter to December 14 for the re-arraignment of the accused persons.

In the charge, the EFCC alleged that the duo conspired to convert properties and resources derived from an illegal act, with the intention of concealing their illicit origin.

The anti-graft agency also alleged that Ladoja used N42million out of the proceeds to purchase an Armoured Land Cruiser Jeep and remitted about £600,000 to one Bimpe Ladoja in London.

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