N4.7B Fraud: How Ex-Gov. Ladoja Paid Wife, Daughter In Foreign Currencies —EFCC Witness
As the trial of former Governor of Oyo State, Chief Rasheed Ladoja for alleged N4.7 billion fraud resumed today, a witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Waheed Atanda, narrated to the court how the ex-governor sent £600,000 to his daughter, Bimpe Ladoja, in London sometime in 2007.
Atanda, who was a Senior Special Executive Assistant to Ladoja, informed the court that the money was part of a sum of N634m, which some
stockbrokers contributed to Ladoja’s impeachment expenses.
Atande while being led-in-evidence by the prosecutor, Mr. Oluwafemi Olabisi, also said the ex-governor had earlier instructed the sale of some shares belonging to Oyo State Government to the said stockbrokers, who later contributed N634million to his impeachment expenses.
He added that the said N634 million, was part of the commission and profit realised by the stockbrokers.
Atanda informed the court that when the N634million was delivered to him by the stockbrokers, he first remove about N180million, which he had earlier borrowed and spent on Ladoja’s instructions at the heat of the impeachment saga.
The witness also stated that part of the N180 million was N80 million he obtained from Wema Bank Plc, which Ladoja used to purchase 22 vehicles for Oyo State lawmakers to prevent his impeachment and that another loan of N80 million, which he obtained from Lagoon Savings and Loans, for the purpose of buying for Ladoja a property known as Quarters 361, which the Oyo State Government put up for sale.
He also mentioned another N13.8 million, which he said Ladoja used to buy two armoured Land Cruiser vehicles for the State Security personnel for his protection.
Atanda said upon the deduction N180 million which he borrowed on Ladoja’s behalf, he distributed the balance of the N634 million according to Ladoja’s instructions.
Among the beneficiaries of the N634 million, according to Atanda was Bimpe, whom he delivered £600,000 in £50 bills in London sometime in 2007, and that Ladoja’s wife, Yinka, also got on different occasions sums of N20 million, N19.5 million, and $13,000 USD.
Atanda said,lawyers including “Akintola and Olujinmi” who the witness said represented Ladoja in court.
The witness when asked by the prosecutor, Olabisi, under what circumstances the sum of £600,000 Pound Sterling, was paid to Bimpe Ladoja, 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.”
Atanda added that the N20 million he gave to Yinka Ladoja was probably what she had lent Ladoja during the impeachment saga.
“On another occasion, they were conducting Local Government Area elections in the state. So, on the eve of the election, I think money was required to be distributed to all the local governments. I was in Lagos, she (Yinka) called me and said His Excellency (Ladoja) said she should collect N19.5m. Then, there was a time she was travelling and I was told to send $13,000 into her account,” Atanda added.
However, 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. Further proceedings were adjourned till April 12 and 13, 2017.
Ladoja alongside his Commissioner for Finance, Akanbi, are standing trial before Justice Mohammed Idris court on eight counts of money laundering.
They were accused of conspiring among themselves to siphon N4.7 billion from the coffers of the state and launder same.
In one instance, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, who is prosecuting them, accused them of converting a sum of N1, 932, 940, 032. 48 belonging to Oyo State to their personal money, using a Guaranty Trust Bank account of a company, Heritage Apartments Limited.
The EFCC claimed that they retained the money sometime in 2007, despite their knowledge that it was proceeds of a criminal conduct.
In another instance, Ladoja was accused of removing a sum of £600,000 from the state coffers in 2007 and sent it to Bimpe Ladoja, who was at the time in London.
The ex-governor was also accused of converting a sum of N42million belonging to the state to his own and subsequently used it to purchase an armoured Land Cruiser jeep.
He was also accused of converting the sum of N728,600,000 and another N77,850,000 at separate times in 2007 to his own.
The EFCC claimed that Ladoja transferred the N77, 850,000 to one Bistrum Investments, which he nominated to help him purchase a property named Quarter 361, Ibadan, Oyo State.
The EFCC told the court that Ladoja and Akanbi acted contrary to sections 17(a) and18 (1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004 and were liable to be punished under sections 14(1), 16(a) (b) and 18(2) of the same.