The Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday adjourned the trial of former Oyo State Governor Rasheed Ladoja till March 19.
Justice Mohammed Idris adjourned the trial after the court called its fourth witness.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) re-arraigned Ladoja for allegedly converting N4.7 billion from the state treasury to his personal use.
He was charged along with Waheed Akanbi on eight counts of money laundering and unlawful conversion of public funds.
They pleaded not guilty.
Ladoja was governor from May 29, 2003 to January 12, 2006, when he was impeached.
On November 1, 2006, the Appeal Court in Ibadan declared the impeachment illegal.
The Supreme Court upheld the decision on November 11, 2009, and Ladajo resumed office on December 12, 2006.
But he lost a re-election bid.
A witness and Managing Director of Fountain Securities, Mr Obakola Daisi, was led in evidence by prosecuting counsel, Mr Oluwafemi Olabisi.
Daisi said he was the official stockbroker for Oyo State government’s portfolio of shares sold in 2007.
Bidders for the portfolio, he said, included City Securities, Spring Capital, Deep Trust and McLeans Securities, adding that McLeans was the preferred bidder.
The prosecutor asked the witness if the second defendant was part of the bidding meeting, and he replied “yes”.
The witness said an Executive Assistant to the former governor, Adewale Atanda, requested that drafts should be raised in the name of Fountain Securities.
Atanda had testified that Ladoja allegedly bought cars for lawmakers to prevent his impeachment, adding that the former governor gave a directive that the state’s shares be sold.
He said N634 million, which was part of the commission and profit realised by stockbrokers handling the shares’ sale, were used as slush funds to prevent Ladoja’s impeachment.
The witness said the N634 million was delivered to him by the stockbrokers.
According to him, he removed N180 million from the sum, which he earlier borrowed and spent on Ladoja’s instructions during the heat of the impeachment saga.
Part of the N180 million, Atanda said, was the N80 million he obtained from Wema Bank Plc, which Ladoja allegedly used to purchase 22 vehicles for Oyo State lawmakers to prevent his impeachment.
Justice Idris also fixed March 20 and 21 for continuation of the trial.
credit: the nation
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