Judges’ training stalls Ex-Governor Ladoja’s corruption trial

The trial of a former governor of Oyo State, Rasheed Ladoja, stalled Monday due to the absence of the judge.

Justice Mohammed Idris joined his colleagues to attend a one-day training organised for judges of the Federal High Court by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

The trial was consequently adjourned till March 31.

Mr. Ladoja and his former aide, Waheed Akanbi, are facing a N4.7 billion money laundering charge before Mr. Idris.

They had pleaded not guilty to all the eight-count charges.

At the last trial hearing, Adewale Atanda, an ex-aide to Mr. Ladoja, told the court that his former boss allegedly bribed the state’s lawmakers with 22 vehicles to avoid impeachment.

Mr. Atanda, a former Senior Executive Assistant to Mr. Ladoja, who was appearing as a witness for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said the incident happened in 2005.

Mr. Ladoja was impeached as Oyo State governor in December 2005.


Source: Premium Times

After 8 years, Ladoja’s N4.7 billion money laundering trial starts afresh

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday re-arraigned a Rashidi Ladoja before a Federal High Court, Lagos, over N4.7 billion alleged money laundering.

Wednesday’s arraignment occurs eight years after the former Oyo governor was first charged.

Mr. Ladoja is charged alongside his former aide, Waheed Akanbi, on eight counts bordering on the alleged offence.

The duo pleaded not guilty to the charges.

After their pleas, the prosecutor, Oluwafemi Olabisi, asked the court to fix a date for commencement of trial.

In response, defence counsel, Bolaji Onilenla and Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika, informed the court of their clients’ bail applications.

Mr. Onilenla, representing Mr. Ladoja, urged the court to allow his client continue on the bail conditions earlier granted him in 2008 by Justice A.R. Mohammed.

He submitted that the first accused had kept good faith with the terms and conditions of the bail and that there was no single incidence of default.

He assured the court that his client will “behave himself’’ and make himself available for trial.

According to Mr. Onilenla, in case the court is not inclined to allowing Ladoja to continue with the previous bail, then the court should grant bail on liberal terms.

The counsel to the other accused, Olumide-Fusika, also aligned himself with the submissions of Onilenla.

The prosecutor objected to the bail application and urged the court to refuse the same on the grounds that the accused had frustrated trial for years through their appeals challenging the competence of the charges.

Ruling, Justice Mohammed Idris held that the court could not deny the accused bail on account of exercise of their constitutional rights of appeal, resulting in the delay of the case.

The court added that there was no evidence that the accused breached the terms of the bail granted them eight years ago.

The court, therefore, allowed the accused to continue with the bail as granted by Justice A.R. Mohammed eight years ago.

Mr. Idris held: “It is not out of place for this court to revalidate the order of A.R. Mohammed.”

He adjourned the case to February 14, 15 and 16, 2017 for commencement of trial.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that Mr. Ladoja was granted bail on September 5, 2008, in the sum of N100 million with two sureties in like sum.

In the charge marked FHC/L/336C/08, the EFCC alleged that the duo conspired to convert properties and resources derived from an illegal act, with the intention of concealing their illicit origin.

The anti-graft agency also alleged that Mr. Ladoja used N42 million out of the proceeds to purchase an Armoured Land Cruiser Jeep, and remitted about £600,000 to one Bimpe Ladoja in London.

The offences are said to have contravened the provisions of sections 14 (a) and 17 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004.

N4.7billion laundering: Court refuses to order Ladoja’s arrest.

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday refused to issue a warrant for the arrest of a former governor of Oyo State, Rasheed Ladoja, following his presence in court.


At the last adjourned date on Nov. 21, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had urged the court to issue a bench warrant against Mr. Ladoja for failing to appear in court, to answer to a N4.7 billion money laundering charges preferred against him.


Mr. Ladoja’s counsel, Bolaji Onilenla, in his reactions to the application for a warrant of arrest, had told the court that he was not aware that the business of the day was for arraignment.


He had argued that this was so because there was a pending appeal before the Supreme Court.


Mr. Onilenla informed the court that after the decision of the Court of Appeal, Mr. Ladoja had changed his counsel, and then, filed an appeal at the Supreme Court.


He said neither the accused nor their counsel was served with any court summons to appear in court.


Mr. Onilenla had also challenged the prosecutorial powers of the prosecutor on the grounds that the fiat to prosecute was exclusively given to Festus Keyamo.


He said that such a fiat could not be transferred to any other person in his chambers.


The counsel also disclosed that the Supreme Court had earlier dismissed Mr. Ladoja’s appeal pursuant to Order 6; Rule 3 of the Procedure Rules, but that the application had been filed to restore the appeal.


He added that to continue with the trial would amount to showing disrespect to the apex court and it would be an infringement on the rights of the accused.


The judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, delivering his ruling on the issue on Friday, held that he would not make any orders as to arrest since the accused was present in court.


The judge also turned down the request of defence counsel for a stay of proceedings pending the outcome of an appeal challenging the prosecutorial powers of the commission under the Money Laundering Act.


According to the judge, the request was against the provisions of Section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 which allows speedy hearing of criminal cases.


Similarly, Justice Idris also dismissed the objection of defence counsel, challenging the appearance of the prosecution’s counsel, Olabisi Oluwayemi (from Festus Keyamo’s chambers).


The court, thereafter, fixed Dec. 14 for arraignment.


The EFCC had in November 2008 arraigned Mr. Ladoja along with his former aide, Waheed Akanbi, before Justice


Ramat Mohammed, who was then serving at the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court.


The anti-graft agency alleged that the two men conspired to convert properties and resources derived from an alleged illegal act, with the intention of concealing their illicit origin.


The anti-graft agency also alleged that Mr. Ladoja used N42 million out of the proceeds to purchase an Armoured Land Cruiser Jeep, and remitted about 600,000 pounds to one Bimpe Ladoja in London.


Messrs. Ladoja and Akanbi both pleaded not guilty to the charges at the trial court, and had urged the court to quash them.


The lower court refused the prayer to quash the charges.


Dissatisfied, Mr. Ladoja appealed against the decision of the Federal High Court.


But, the Appellate Court in its judgment delivered by Justice Sidi Bage disallowed the appeal and ordered the former governor to continue his trial at the lower court.


Mr. Bage, in his lead judgment, which was unanimously adopted by two other justices, had held that the EFCC had statutory powers to prosecute under Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2004.

8 years after, Ladoja’s corruption trial to finally commence in November 18.

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.

Saraki, Akpabio, Daniel, Odili, Ladoja Included In AGF’s List For Fresh Probe, Trial

Senate President Bukola Saraki, factional Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ali Modu Sheriff; and Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, are among 31 former governors whose alleged corruption cases investigated by the anti-graft agencies are likely to be reopened soon.

The PUNCH had exclusively reported on Tuesday that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, had written to the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission, directing the reopening of the cases of the ex-governors.

It was learnt on Wednesday that the AGF had called for the case files of the former state governors.


The PUNCH obtained the list of the former governors, who were named in the AGF’s letter, on Wednesday.

The list contains the names of Saraki, a former Governor of Kwara State; Akpabio (a former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, and Sheriff (an ex-Governor of Borno State).

Other former governors include Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia); Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu); Saminu Turaki (Jigawa); Sule Lamido (Jigawa); Joshua Dariye (Plateau); Ahmed Yerima (Zamfara); Gabriel Suswam (Benue); Martin Elechi (Ebonyi); Danjuma Goje (Gombe) and Murtala Nyako (Adamawa).


They also include Ikedi Ohakim (Imo); Obong Victor Attah (Akwa Ibom); Achike Udenwa (Imo); Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa); Gbenga Daniel (Ogun); Jolly Nyame (Taraba); Boni Haruna (Adamawa); George Akume (Benue); Rashidi Ladoja (Oyo); Attahiru Bafarawa (Sokoto) and Adebayo Alao-Akala.

Others are Usman Dakingari (Kebbi); Adamu Mu’azu (Bauchi); Peter Odili (Rivers), and Lucky Igbindedion (Edo).

Part of the AGF’s letter to the ICPC, sighted by our correspondent on Monday, indicated that the cases against some of the former governors were investigated some years ago, but charges were never filed against them.


The letter partly read, “It is clear that some of these governors and other politically-exposed persons have not been charged to court despite the fact that the ICPC has concluded their investigations, concerning allegations levelled against them, for one reason or the other.

“It is the position of the present administration that all ex-governors, who the ICPC had long concluded investigations into the various allegations levelled against them, should be immediately prosecuted.”

The letter also gave the Chairman of the ICPC a 14-day ultimatum to “remit the duplicate case files concerning the politically-exposed persons investigated by the ICPC over the years” to the office of the AGF.

Our correspondent confirmed on Wednesday that the AGF had sent a similar request to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission with the same list of former governors annexed to his letter.


The PUNCH had reported that some of the ex-governors, according to one of the sources, include some, who had been convicted on charges preferred against them by the EFCC.

Some of them also had their cases terminated before full-blown trial could begin.

Others are currently undergoing trial on charges initiated against them by the EFCC at either the various divisions of the Federal High Court or the High Courts of their home states.


There are about five of the former governors, who are now said to be serving senators.

The affected personalities, it was learnt, served as governors for either one or two terms between 1999 and 2015, and are from all the six geopolitical zones of the country.

It was also confirmed that the majority of those on the list belonged to the two dominant political parties, the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party.

Another source also confirmed that a former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, who was convicted in the United Kingdom for fraud-related charges and still serving his prison terms, was on the list.

Apart from Ibori, two former governors from the South-South, are said to be on the list.

Five of the former governors are from the South-East, and three from the South-West.


The PUNCH was informed that the ex-governors, whose cases would be reopened, included six from the North-West; six from the North-East, and eight from the North-Central.

The AGF letter defines high-profile cases as cases “involving alleged misconduct amounting to economic sabotage; involving complex financial transactions or property movement; involving any of the suspects, who is a politician, a public officer or judicial officer; and where the subject matter involves government or corruption of its official or involves the abuse of office.”

Such judiciary officers, it was learnt, would include judges allegedly involved in economic sabotage, including financial transactions.


The AGF’s letter to both the ICPC and EFCC indicated that AGF’s request for the case files was in the exercise of his powers vested in the AGF by Section 174(1) of the Constitution as well as sections 105 (3) and 106 (a) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

Our correspondent’s findings showed on Wednesday that ICPC and EFCC had yet to respond to the AGF’s request.

Ladoja Congratulates Ajimobi Over Supreme Court Judgment

The candidate of the Accord Party in the 2015 governorship election in Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, has congratulated Governor Abiola Ajimobi, over his (Ajimobi’s) victory at the Supreme Court.



Affirming the victory on Tuesday, the apex court ruled that the April 11, 2015 election that produced Ajimobi as governor was valid.



The ruling by the court was the climax of a 10-month legal tussle instituted by Ladoja against the governor shortly after the governorship election.



The former governor had headed to the Oyo State Election Petitions Tribunal where he challenged the victory of Ajimobi on the grounds that the election was marred by electoral malpractices.



After the tribunal ruled in favour of Ajimobi, Ladoja headed to the Appeal Court, which upheld the ruling of the tribunal.



He, subsequently, dragged the governor to the Supreme Court.



In a statement by his media aide, Alhaji Lanre Latinwo, Ladoja said that with the judgment of the Supreme Court, ‘the electoral process has come to an end’.



He, therefore, enjoined Oyo State AP members to support the Ajimobi-led administration.



“This is the time to join hands with the governor to move the state forward as the ruling of the Supreme Court has put a finality to the election process,” Ladoja said.



He called on the people of Oyo to pray for the governor and work for the betterment of the state.



Credit : Punch

Oyo guber: Tribunal decides Ladoja, Ajimobi fate today

The Oyo State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal will on Tuesday give judgment on the petition filed by former Oyo State Governor, Rashidi Ladoja, of the Accord Party, against the victory of Governor Abiola Ajimobi in the April 11 governorship poll.

Ladoja is challenging the declaration of Ajimobi of the All Progressives Congress as the winner of the governorship poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The state Police Command said on Monday that it had deployed its men in the venue of the ruling, warning that anyone, who had no business with the tribunal, should stay away from the premises.

Police Public Relation Officer in the state, Adekunle Ajisebutu, said the state Commissioner of Police, Leye Oyebade, would lead the operation.

He said, “We have enough well-equipped uniformed and plain-clothed policemen comprising operatives drawn from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, mobile police, Counter Terrorism Unit, Explosive Ordinance Department, State Intelligence Bureau, Dog section and mounted troops.

“The deployment has since commenced to forestall any breakdown of law and order. All the personnel deployed have been adequately briefed. The CP will personally be in charge of the operations. He has warned anyone, who has no business at the venue and its environs, to stay away.

“He further warned would-be miscreants, hoodlums and other social elements against fomenting trouble before, during or after the tribunal judgment as any erring person or group will be arrested and prosecuted.”

The awaited ruling has generated a lot of tension in both camps with words being traded by supporters and party chieftains.



Credit : Punch

Ladoja Challenges Ajimobi’s Victory, Heads To Tribunal

Senator Rasheed Ladoja, former governor of Oyo state and gubernatorial candidate of Accord Party in the last governorship election has began legal proceedings to challenge the victory of Governor Abiola Ajimobi of All Progressive Party (APC) at a tribunal to be inaugurated soon.

Investigation revealed that as at the time of filing this report, only Senator Ladoja has submitted a petition against Ajimobi at the governorship tribunal while the three other candidates, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala of Labour Party (LP), Senator Teslim Folarin of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Engineer Seyi Makinde of Social Democratic Party (SDP), have somewhat conceded defeat.

Meanwhile, it has been gathered that various interest groups including notable Ibadan indigenes and organizations are mounting pressure on Senator Ladoja to withdraw his petition from the tribunal for the sake of peace in the state.

At the inauguration sitting of the National and state Houses of Assembly election tribunal in the state, the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice J.G Abunsaga said that the tribunal has received thirty-six petitions in respect of results of elections into the National Assembly and state house of Assembly in the state.

Breaking it down, Justice Abunsaga said that two and 10 petitions were received for senatorial election and House of Representatives respectively while 24 were for the state House of Assembly.

Seeking the cooperation of all the counsels in the matters disclosed that the panel would not exceed the 180 days stipulated by the nation’s constitution to wind up all the matters.

The judge also cautioned that the tribunal would not tolerate playing to the gallery by some counsels, stressing that, the tribunal would not tolerate any unnecessary adjournment to foot drag the matter.

“We shall be firm on all issues. Election petition tribunal is time bound. Every petition filed must be heard and dispensed with within the 180 days stipulated by the constitution of federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.”

Other two members of the tribunal are Justices G.C Nnamani and A.N Suleiman.

Responding on behalf of the counsels in the matters, Chief Richard Ogunwole, (SAN) assured the tribunal of the counsels’ maximum support.

He however charged the tribunal to impress it on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to release necessary documents on request by the counsels.

“In as much as we are ready to cooperate with the tribunal, I believe there is need for the tribunal to impress it on the INEC and the REC on the need for them to release the documents in their custody. The papers are public property. Some of these documents were not released to some lawyers who have been there under the ground that their photocopy machines are not working. Since last Thursday, INEC has been closing its office. INEC wants to create a bottleneck. The documents are public documents. I don’t think INEC should take public holiday and lock up its office because time has started counting. INEC and the REC should take note and cooperate.”