Eight year after he was first charged for money laundering, the trial of former governor of Oyo State, Rasheed Ladoja, can now properly take off.
Having lost his bid at the Appeal Court to have charges against him quashed, Mr. Ladoja will be re-arraigned for money laundering before a Federal High Court in Lagos.
The court on Monday adjourned the till November 18 for the fresh arraignment of the Accord Party leader.
The Appeal Court, Lagos Division, had dismissed a bid by Mr. Ladoja to have the charges against him and his aide, Waheed Akanni, quashed.
The charges were filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Saheed Bagir, the judge who read the decision of the appeal court, upheld the powers of the EFCC to prosecute offenders under the money laundering act.
Mr. Bagir held that the provisions of Section 14 of the EFCC Act gave the commission the power to prosecute persons charged with the offence of money laundering.
The court also held that by Section 7(2) of the EFCC Act, the commission was also empowered to charge and prosecute the appellants in the suit.
The anti-graft agency had arraigned Messrs. Ladoja and Akanbi on a 10-count charge of laundering funds taken from government coffers.
The EFCC alleged that Mr. Ladoja used about N42 million to purchase an Armoured Land Cruiser Jeep and remitted about £600,000 to one Bimpe Ladoja in London.
The accused who were arraigned before Ramat Mohammed, a justice of the Federal High Court, Lagos pleaded not guilty and were granted bail.
But Mr. Ladoja filed an appeal to through his counsel, Wole Olanipekun, asking the appellate court to quash the charges against him arguing that they were vague.
Mr Olanipekun, a senior lawyer, had argued that the proof of evidence tendered before the lower court by the prosecution, had no connection with the charge against his client.
He said the charges are baseless as they did not show on first impression any case against Mr Ladoja.
He said the EFCC had no power, jurisdiction or authority to prefer the charge against Mr Ladoja and asked the court to rule that the case was baseless.
Responding, counsel to the EFCC, Festus Keyamo, urged the court to uphold the validity of the charge, adding that such objection ought to have been raised before the plea of the accused was taken.
He said the respondents had failed to take necessary steps when they ought to have done so, adding that the objection of the respondent has no basis in law.
The proceedings at the high court were suspended to allow the appellate court rule on the challenge brought before it by the respondents.