LADOJA DISCHARGED AND ACQUITTED IN FRAUD CASE

A Lagos federal high court has discharged and acquitted Rashidi Ladoja, a former governor of Oyo state, who stood trial over an alleged fraud of 4.7 billion naira fraud.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had charged Ladoja to court alongside Waheed Akanbi, who served as commissioner for finance under the former governor.

On Friday, February 8, 2019, Justice Mohammed Idris, the trial judge ruled that EFCC could not provide enough evidence to nail the suspects and therefore discharged and acquitted them.

They were both re-arraigned by the EFCC on December 15, 2016, on eight counts charges.

The charges against Ladoja and Akanbi bordered on money laundering and unlawful conversion of funds belonging to Oyo State to their own.

In one of the counts, Ladoja and Akanbi were accused of converting a sum of 1,932,940,032.48 naira belonging to Oyo State for their personal use, 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.

Ladoja was accused of removing the sum of £600,000 from the state coffers in 2007. According to EFCC, the former governor allegedly sent the money to his daughter, Bimpe, who was at the time in London.

The former governor was also accused of converting a sum of 42 million naira belonging to the state to his own and subsequently used it to purchase an armored Land Cruiser jeep.

He was also accused of converting a sum of 728, 600,000 naira and another 77,850,000 naira at separate times in 2007 to his own.

The EFCC claimed that Ladoja transferred the 77, 850,000 naira 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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