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Published On: Sat, Apr 21st, 2018

Alleged N4.7bn fraud: EFCC witness testifies against Ladoja

A witness, Abubakar Madaki, has told a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos that a former governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, admitted to benefitting from the proceeds generated from the sale of the state shares in 2007.

File photo

Madaki, an investigator with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), made the disclosure on Friday while testifying in the ongoing trial of Ladoja and one of his aides, Waheed Akanbi, over an alleged N4.7 billion fraud.

The duo were re-arraigned by the EFCC on December 14, 2016, before the court on eight counts of money laundering, contrary to Section 17(a) and punishable under Section 14(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004.

While answering questions in court on Friday, Madaki said during investigations into the matter, the former governor admitted that he benefited from the proceeds generated from the sale of the shares.

“The first accused person (Ladoja) admitted that himself, his wife and daughter benefitted from the proceeds generated from the sale of the shares. $13,000 was transferred to his wife outside the country. He also received a jeep purchased by one of his aides, Chief Adewale Atanda. He, however, claimed that he has some money with Chief Atanda,” the investigator said.

He added that an enquiry was launched into the sale of the shares following a petition which was received from the Oyo State government in 2008, alleging that the accused persons diverted the proceeds generated from the sale.

The witness further said investigations revealed that the shares were sold at a discounted price as against what was agreed to at the State Executive Council meeting, where the decision to sell the shares was taken.

He pointed out that a shortfall of N1.8 billion from the proceeds generated from the sale of the shares was not remitted to the Oyo State government.

Madaki noted that further enquiries were made with the portfolio manager of the state government, Fountain Securities, and another stockbroking firm – Mcclace Securities, to unravel the reason behind the shortfall.

“We conducted a scientific research on the houses and premises of the portfolio manager and Mcclace Securities and we recovered a paper from Mcclace Securities, showing the distribution of funds to Oyo State; Heritage Apartments owned by Chief Atanda benefitted from the proceeds of shares.

“He later brought a list containing names of lawyers, family members of the first accused person, his political aides, associates, children and wives that benefited from what went to Heritage Apartments”, the witness stressed.

He added that part of the funds was moved to Oyo State and Heritage Apartments for the benefit of the first accused person.

The EFCC investigator further disclosed that statements were made by Ladoja and his co-accused under oath and caution.

However, attempts by the EFCC counsel to tender the statements as exhibits were opposed by the defence lawyers.

They argued that the tendering of the documents would only be relevant at the point when the defendants were called upon to open their defence.

Responding, the prosecution’s lawyer contended that the statements were retrieved by the witness in the course of investigating the matter.

He then urged the court to overrule the defence objections to the admissibility of the documents.

Ruling on the contentious issue has been fixed for May 9.

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