N4.7bn Fraud: Ladoja, Others Admitted Benefiting From Selling of Oyo State Govt’s Shares -EFCC

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An investigator of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abubakar Aliu Madaki, today, told a Federal High Court in Lagos that a former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja, has admitted benefitting from the proceeds generated from the sale of the state shares in 2007.Madaki made the disclosure while testifying in the on-going trial of Ladoja and one of his aides, Waheed Akanbi, a former Commissioner of Finance of the state, over alleged N4.7 billion fraud.

The duo were on December 14, 2016, re-arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before Justice Mohammed Idris led-court on an 8-count charge of money laundering, contrary to Section 17(a) and punishable under Section 14(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004.

Madaki while being led-in-evidence by the EFCC’s lawyer, Oluyinka Olabisi, said while investigations into the matter lasted, the Ladoja admitted benefitting from the proceeds generated from the sale of the shares.

He said: “The first accused person (Ladoja) admitted that himself, his wife and daughter benefitted from the proceeds generated from the sale of the shares.

“$13,000 was transferred to his wife outside the country. He also received a jeep purchased by one of his aides, Chief Adewale Atanda. He however claimed that he has some money with Chief Atanda”.

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He said an enquiry was launched into the sale of the shares following a petition which was received from the Oyo State Government in 2008, alleging that the accused persons diverted the proceeds generated from the sale of Oyo State government shares.

The witness told the court that investigations revealed that the shares were sold at a discounted price as against what was agreed to at the States Council meeting where decision to sell the shares was taken.

He added that a shortfall of N1.8 billion from the proceeds generated from the sale of the shares were not remitted to the Oyo State Government.

The witness also told the court  that further enquiries were later made with the portfolio manager of the State government, Fountain Securities and another stockbroking firm, Mcclace Securities to unravel the rationale behind the shortfall.

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“We conducted a scientific research on the houses and premises of the Portfolio Manager and Mc-lace Securities and we recovered a paper from Mcclace Securities showing the distribution of funds to Oyo State.

“Heritage Apartments owned by Chief Atanda benefitted from the proceeds of shares. He later brought a list containing names of lawyers, family members of Ladoja, his political aides, associates, children and wives that benefited from what went to Heritage Apartments”, the witness said.

He added that part of the funds were moved to Oyo State government coffers, and Heritage Apartments for the benefit of Ladoja.

The witness further disclosed that statements were made by Ladoja and his co-accused under oath and caution.

However, attempts by the prosecution lawyer, Olufemi Olabisi, to tender the statements as exhibits were opposed to by the defence lawyers on the ground time is not yet ripe for such action.

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They argued that the tendering of the documents will only be relevant at the point when the defendants were called upon to open their defence.

Responding, Olabisi contended that the statements were retrieved by the witness in the course of investigating the matter. He urged the court to overrule the defence objections to the admissibility of the documents.

Following the arguments canvassed by the both parties, the presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, said that there is need to adjourn the matter, to enable him make adequate research so as to deliver ruling on the contentious issue raised by both parties.

Consequently, the matter was adjourned till May 9, 10 and 11, at 1 p.m.

The EFCC had sometimes in November 2008, arraigned the accused persons on a 10-count charge over the alleged offence before Justice Ramat Mohammed, who was then serving at the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court.

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