The Federal High Court in Lagos Friday heard how former Oyo State Governor Rasheed Ladoja diverted part of N4.7billion he allegedly looted from the state treasury.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) re-arraigned Ladoja for allegedly converting state funds to his personal use. He was first arraigned eight years ago.
He was charged along with Waheed Akanbi on eight counts of money laundering and unlawful conversion of public funds.
Ladoja’s Senior Special Executive Assistant, Mr. Adewale Atanda, while testifying for the prosecution, said the former governor gave directive that Oyo State’s shares be sold.
He said N634million, which was part of the commission and profit realised by stockbrokers handling the shares’ sale, were used as slush funds to prevent Ladoja’s impeachment.
The witness said the N634million was delivered to him by the stockbrokers.
He said he removed N180million from the sum, which he had earlier borrowed and spent on Ladoja’s instructions during the heat of the impeachment saga.
Part of the N180million, he said, was the N80million he obtained from Wema Bank Plc, which Ladoja used to purchase 22 vehicles for Oyo State lawmakers to prevent his impeachment.
Another was a loan of N80million, which he (Atanda) obtained from Lagoon Savings and Loans to buy Ladoja a property at Quarters 361, which the Oyo State Government put up for sale.
He said there was also N13.8million which Ladoja used to buy two Land Cruisers for the state security personnel for his protection.
Atanda said having deducted the N180million which he borrowed on Ladoja’s behalf, he distributed the balance of the N634million according to Ladoja’s instructions.
Among the beneficiaries, he said, was Bimpe, to whom he delivered pounds in London in 2007, and Ladoja’s wife, Yinka, who also got N20million, N19.5million and $13,000 on different occasions.
Other beneficiaries, Atanda said, were lawyers who represented Ladoja in court.
Explaining the circumstances in which £600,000 was paid to Bimpe, Atanda said: “His Excellency wanted me to pay the money into his account but I had difficulty doing it.
“I told him and he said he would ask his daughter to contact me. She did and I gave her the money.
“The money was mostly in £50 notes; I put it in small suitcases and handed the money over to her in London. I think it was in 2007.”
Under cross-examination by Ladoja’s lawyer, Bolaji Onilenla, Atanda said neither Bimpe nor Ladoja gave him anything to acknowledge the payment of the £600,000 to Bimpe.
Ladoja was governor from May 29, 2003 to January 12, 2006 when he was impeached.
On November 1, 2006, the Appeal Court Ibadan, declared the impeachment null and illegal.
The Supreme Court upheld the decision on November 11, 2009, and Ladajo resumed office on December 12, 2006.
He, however, lost a re-election bid.
Justice Mohammed Idris adjourned until April 12 and 13.
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