Money Laundering: Prosecution Provides More Evidence in Trial of Ladoja

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The prosecution thursday called its fourth witness before a Federal High Court, Lagos, in the ongoing trial of a former Governor of Oyo State, Rasheed Ladoja, charged with N4.7 billion money laundering.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Ladoja alongside a former Oyo State Commissioner for Finance, Waheed Akanbi.

The duo was arraigned on December 14, 2016 before Justice Mohammed Idris on eight counts bordering on of N4.7 billion money laundering.

Both pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bails.
When the trial resumed yesterday, the fourth prosecution witness, Mr. Obakola Daisi, a stockbroker, Managing Director of Fountain Securities, mounted the witness box and was sworn on the holy Quran.
Led in evidence by prosecution, Mr Oluwafemi Olabisi, the witness, told the court that he was the official stockbroker for Oyo State governments’ portfolio of shares sold in 2007.

He said that bidders for the portfolio included, City Securities, Spring Capital, Deep trust and Gregory Otsu’s Mcleans Securities, adding that Mcleans emerged the preferred bidder”.
The prosecutor then asked the witness if the second defendant was part of the meeting and he replied “yes.”

On whether money, was money paid to Fountain Securities in relation to sale of shares, the witness replied:
“Atanda, as the senior special assistant to the executive governor of Oyo State, requested cheques and drafts to be raised in the name of Fountain Securities.”
During cross-examination by first defence counsel, Mr Bolaji Onilenla, the witness told the court that he had never been charged by the EFCC, and has never been in court for any mater.

Defence counsel then tendered in evidence, a charge sheet, with the witness named as a defendant and EFCC as the prosecution.
He also tendered a report by DTI Capital Ltd, on investigation conducted into the sale of Oyo State Government shares.

Onilenla further tendered through the witness, his statement to EFCC, where he recounted his involvement in the sale of the shares.
He then asked if the witness was aware that Atanda is the owner of Heritage Apartment, and the witness said No.

When asked his reasons for remitting the proceeds of sale of shares to Heritage Apartments, the witness replied: “I was following the instruction from Atanda, who was representing Oyo State Government at the time.”

During cross-examination by second defence counsel, Mr Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika, told the court
that he attended several meetings with Mcleans in the process of reaching terms of sale of the shares.
When asked if the second accused was present at the meeting, he replied: “I believe so”
Defence counsel asked: “The third prosecution witness testified that he had only one meeting where the second defendant was present, what is your reaction?”
Witness: “I cannot answer that”

Justice Idris has adjourned ‪until March, March 19, March 20 and March 21,‬ for continuation of trial.
The duo is alleged to have conspired to siphon and launder N4.7 billion from the coffers of Oyo State.
The EFCC also accused them of converting a sum of N1.9 billion belonging to the state to personal use, using the account of a company, Heritage Apartments Ltd.

It claimed that they retained the money sometime in 2007, despite their knowledge that it was proceeds of a criminal activity.
Ladoja was accused of removing a sum of 600,000 pounds from the state coffers in 2007, and sent same to Bimpe Ladoja, his daughter, who was in London at the time.

The ex-governor was also accused of converting a sum of N42 million belonging to the state to his use, and subsequently used same to purchase an armoured Land Cruiser SUV.
In addition, he allegedly converted N728 million and another N77 million at different times in 2007 to his use.

The EFCC claimed that Ladoja transferred the sum to one Bistrum Investments which he nominated to help him purchase a property in Ibadan.
The offences contravened the provisions of Sections 14, 16, 17 (a) and 18 (1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004.