A prosecution witness, Adewale Atanda, in the ongoing trial of former Oyo State Governor, Rasheed Ladoja, told a Federal High Court in Lagos, Friday, how the former Governor used part of N4.7bn he allegedly stole from the state treasury to bribe members of the State House of Assembly who wanted to impeach him.
According to the witness, N634m, which was part of the commission and profit realised from the sale of Oyo State shares by stockbrokers handling the shares’ sale, were used as slush funds to prevent Ladoja’s impeachment.
Explaining how the money came about, the witness, former Senior Special Executive Assistant to Ladoja, while testifying on oath, said it was the former Governor who directed that Oyo State shares should be sold.
Atanda said the N634m was delivered to him by the stockbrokers after the sale.
He said he removed N180m from the sum, which he had earlier borrowed and spent on Ladoja’s instructions during the heat of the impeachment saga.
Part of the N180m, he said, was the N80m 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 N80m, 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 N13.8m which Ladoja used to buy two Land Cruisers for the state security personnel for his protection.
Atanda said having deducted the N180m which he borrowed on Ladoja’s behalf, he distributed the balance 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 N20m, N19.5m 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.
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.