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A former Governor of Oyo State, Chief Rashidi Ladoja, on Monday urged the Federal High Court in Lagos to dismiss the N4.7bn fraud charges filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Ladoja, through his lawyer, Mr Bolaji Onilenla, contended that the charges against him were baseless and remained unproven despite that the EFCC called witnesses and tendered a load of documents.

Onilenla said the EFCC failed to establish a prima facie case against Ladoja and urged Justice Mohammed Idris to discharge and acquit the ex-governor rather than call upon him to put up any defence.

He said, “Most of the counts were not well founded in law. In the first count, it is said that the defendants conspired; to prove the allegation, the prosecution relied on Exhibit 8; we have argued that the documents will not constitute a legally-admissible evidence.

“The same goes for counts two, three, four and five because they are related.

“As for count six, their own witness, Mr Atanda, repeatedly told the court that the money he used to purchase an armoured vehicle for the 1st defendant was a loan. The question that the defendant knew that the funds were proceeds of crime cannot stand.”

Ladoja’s lawyer added that the allegation that the ex-governor took £600,000 from the state coffers in 2007 and sent it to Bimpe Ladoja, who was at the time in London, could also not stand.

According to him, the second prosecution witness had under cross-examination admitted that he neither knew how the  £600,000 was allegedly delivered to Bimpe Ladoja in London nor had any document to show that Bimpe Ladoja acknowledged the receipt of the money.

“We urge the court to hold that there is no prima facie case against the 1st defendant and the court is urged to discharge and acquit him,” Onilenla said.

On his own part, Ladoja’s co-defendant, Waheed Akanbi –  a former Commissioner for Finance in Oyo State – through his lawyer, Mr Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN), equally filed a no-case submission, urging the court to set him free.

But the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Mr Adebisi Oluwafemi, maintained that the prosecution had raised questions which the court must call on the defendants to answer.

“We urge the court to call upon the defendants to answer the questions by way of putting in their defence,” Oluwafemi said.

He added that the preliminary objection filed by Ladoja could at best be described as premature.

After taking arguments from both sides, Justice Idris adjourned till November 12, 2018 for ruling.

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