EFCC seeks arrest warrant against ex-gov over alleged N4.7bn fraud
The EFCC told an Abuja court that Ladoja and his former aide, Chief Waheed Akanbi have refused to honour its invitation.
The anti-graft agency on Friday, November 18, told the court that its request follows Ladoja’s refusal to appear in court, to defend a N4.7 billion money laundering charges brought against him by the Commission.
Counsel to the EFCC, Mr Olabisi Oluwafemi, from the law firm of Festus Keyamo, told the court that Ladoja, alongside his former aide, Chief Waheed Akanbi, were invited to the EFCC’s office, but they shunned the invitation.
He said the accused deliberately stayed away from court and merely sent their lawyers to represent them.
He, therefore, urged the court to issue bench warrants against the accused, arguing that without their attendance in court the trial cannot proceed.
Reacting to the application for a warrant, counsel to Ladoja, Mr Bolaji Onilenla told the court that he was not aware that the business of the day was for the arraignment.
He argued that this was so because there was a pending appeal before the Supreme Court.
He informed the court that after the decision of the Court of Appeal, Ladoja changed his counsel, and then filed an appeal to the Supreme Court.
He stated that neither the accused nor their counsel were served with any court summons to appear in court.
Onilenla also challenged the prosecutorial powers of the prosecutor on the grounds that the fiat to prosecute was exclusively given to Fetus Keyamo.
He added that such fiat could not be transferred to any other person in his chambers.
He also disclosed that the Supreme Court had earlier dismissed Ladoja’s appeal pursuant to order 6 rule 3 of the procedure rules, but that an application has been filed to restore the appeal.
He added that to continue with the trial will amount to showing disrespect to the apex court and it will be an infringement on the rights of the accused.
After the submissions of the counsels the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, fixed November 25 to rule on the application for a warrant of arrest.
The EFCC had in November 2008 arraigned Ladoja along with 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.
It also alleged that 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.
Ladoja and Akanbi had both pleaded not guilty to the charges and urged the court to quash the charges.
The lower court had refused the prayer to quash the charges.
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