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Efcc Seeks Ladoja’s Arrest

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SAN FRANCISCO, November 18, (THEWILL) – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has urged Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos, to issue a warrant for the arrest of a former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, who was accused of N4.7bn fraud.

The plea was made by a counsel for the anti-graft agency, Oluwafemi Olabisi, on Friday , following Ladoja's alleged refusal to show up in court for his proposed re-arraignment as he was accussed of converting properties and resources derived from an alleged illegal act, with the intention of concealing their illicit origin and using N42milliob out of the proceeds to purchase an Armoured Land Cruiser Jeep, and remitted about £600,000 to one Bimpe Ladoja in London.

Ladoja, who was first arraigned in 2008, had pleaded not guilty to the charges and proceeded on appeal up to the Supreme Court to challenge the charges against him but the Supreme Court dismissed Ladoja's appeal for being incompetent, pursuant to the provisions of Order 6 Rule 3(2) of the Supreme Court Rules 1999.

Oluwafemi disclosed that Ladoja, who was charged along with his former aide, Chief Waheed Akanbi, was invited to the EFCC but did not honour the invitation and deliberately stayed away from court but merely sent his lawyer to represent him.

Responding, Counsel to Ladoja, Bolaji Onilenle, revealed that he was the one who instructed Ladoja to stay away from court on Friday insisting that he did not know that the matter was up for arraignment as the case was still pending at the Supreme Court.

He further argued that besides the fact that Ladoja had not been properly informed of the re-opening of the case, his appeal against the charges at the Supreme Court was still pending adding that the EFCC gave a fiat to Festus Keyamo to prosecute the case and not Oluwafemi, who is a counsel in Keyamo's firm.

Onilenla insisted that his client had yet to exhaust the window of appeal open to him at the Supreme Court and contended that the EFCC could not cut Ladoja's right of appeal short by rushing to re-open the case.

“We are challenging the locus standi of the prosecuting lawyer to set this matter down for hearing. If the flat is given to Keyamo, no other person in his chamber can take it over. It cannot be transferred,” he argued.

“Keyamo should personally prosecute it, he cannot transfer the prosecutorial power to any other person in his chamber.

“What we are saying in effect, my lord, is that our right of appeal still endures and it cannot be purportedly cut short on the altar of over-zealousness of the prosecution to jump-start the trial of the case.”

Justice Mohammed Idris adjourned until November 25 for ruling on the application for warrant of arrest.

Story by Oputah David