The EFCC also alleged that Ladoja used N42m out of the proceeds to purchase an Armoured Land Cruiser Jeep, and remitted about £600,000 to one Bimpe Ladoja in London.Ladoja and Akanbi however l pleaded not guilty to the charges. After the arraignment, the defendants asked the court to quash the charge against them, they argued that the charge did not disclose a prima facie case against them.
After the court dismissed the application, Ladoja had through his former lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) appealed against the decision before the Lagos division of the Court of Appeal. The Appellate Court in its judgement delivered by Justice Sidi Bage disallowed the appeal and ordered the former governor to continue his trial at the lower court.
Justice Bage in his lead judgement unanimously adopted by other two justices on the panel, held that the EFCC has power to prosecute under Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2004. However, the new date was fixed yesterday by Justice Idris following a ruling on an application by the EFCC seeking for the issuance of bench warrant on the accused persons for not making themselves available to answer to the charges.
However, instead of returning to the lower court to face their trial, the defendants opted to approach the apex court, a development that compel the anti-graft agency to asked Justice Idris for a bench warrant to force them to come to court.
In his ruling, Justice Idris turned down the request of the defence for a stay of proceedings and also dismissed the objection of Ladoja’s lawyer, Bolaji Onilenla, to the appearance of the prosecution’s lawyer, Olabisi Oluwayemi (from Festus Keyamo’s chambers) to appear in the matter. Onilenla had while challenging the prosecutorial power of the prosecuting lawyer submitted that the fiat to prosecute was exclusively given to Festus Keyamo and that the fiat cannot be transferred to any other person in Keyamo’s chambers.
However, the judge faulted the lawyer’s submission saying the EFCC is in a better position to raise such an objection.But the court refused to make any order for the arrest of the accused persons as was requested by the EFCC owing to the appearance of Ladoja and his co-accused in court yesterday.
On this issue, Justice Idris said: “The court will not make any order for arrest in the light of the appearance of the accused persons in court”. He subsequently adjourned the matter to December 14 for the re-arraignment of the accused persons. In the charge, 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 Ladoja used N42million out of the proceeds to purchase an Armoured Land Cruiser Jeep, and remitted about £600,000 to one, Bimpe Ladoja in London.