The Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday, November 12, cancelled the no-case submission filed by Chief Rashidi Ladoja, a former governor of Oyo, which was a reply to the N4.7bn fraud charges filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In his judgement, Justice Mohammed Idris, ruled that there were some questions raised in the exhibits tendered by the prosecution, which Ladoja needed to answer, Punch reports.
Idris also gave similar judgement on a no-case submission filed by Ladoja’s co-defendant, Waheed Akanbi, a former commissioner for finance in the state.
Justice Idris insisted: “I have refused to consider the issue of whether or not I will believe the evidence. I have also refused to consider the question of credibility of witnesses at this stage.
“In the light of all the evidence that have been tendered by the prosecution, in my opinion, the defendants might have to explain the contents of some of those exhibits.”
The counsel to Ladoja, Bolaji Onilenla, contended that the charges against his client were unfounded and unproven despite the EFCC’s witnesses and incriminating documents, adding that the judge should acquit him.
Onilenla said: “Most of the counts were not well founded in law. In the first count, it is said that the defendants conspired; to prove the allegation, the prosecution relied on Exhibit 8.
“We have argued that the documents will not constitute a legally-admissible evidence. The same goes for counts two, three, four and five because they are related.
“As for count six, their own witness, Mr Atanda, repeatedly told the court that the money he used to purchase an armoured vehicle for the 1st defendant was a loan. The question that the defendant knew that the funds were proceeds of crime cannot stand.”
He further said that the allegation that the ex-governor took £600,000 from the state treasuries in 2007 and sent it to Bimpe Ladoja, who was at the time in London, is baseless.
The lawyer stated that the second prosecution witness had under cross-examination admitted that he neither knew how the £600,000 was allegedly delivered to Bimpe Ladoja in London nor had any document to show that Bimpe Ladoja acknowledged the receipt of the money.
Onilenla stated: “We urge the court to hold that there is no prima facie case against the 1st defendant and the court is urged to discharge and acquit him.”
On his own part, Akanbi’s lawyer, Mr Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN), also urged the court to declare his client innocent.
However, Adebisi Oluwafemi, the counsel for the EFCC, maintained that the prosecution had raised questions which the the defendants must answer.
Oluwafemi said: “We urge the court to call upon the defendants to answer the questions by way of putting in their defence.” Idris adjourned the case till Tuesday, November 20, 2018 for the defence to open their case.
Meanwhile, we reported that Ladoja had been reportedly rushed to the University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, the capital of the state, over undisclosed ailment.
Legit.ng regional reporter in Ibadan, Newman Babson, reports that Ladoja who is the leader of African Democratic Congress (ADC) in the state, was reported to have collapsed during a meeting he held in Ibadan to review the chance of the party in the gubernatorial election in Osun.