Wednesday, November 28, 2018 2:05 pm
Trial has ended in the 10-year-old case of alleged N4.7 billion money laundering case against a former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja and one of his aides, Waheed Akanbi.
The former governor in his evidence in the witness box during his examination-in-chief, Ladoja denied authorizing the sale of Oyo state government shares at discounted price. He told the court that the decision to sell the shares were taken by the State Executive Council upon his return to office on 11th December, 2006, following the nullification of his impeachment by the Supreme Court.
The former governor added that proceeds generated from the sale of the shares were deployed towards projects execution.
“On our return to office, we found out that most of the items we had in our budget in 2006 were not touched. We were then looking for money and the second defendant, who was the commissioner of finance, was saddled with the responsibility of looking for the money. He then came up with the idea of selling the shares
“We later called functionaries at the Ministry of Commerce but they told us that the shares have been tied down to the purchase of rice. We then found a way of freeing the shares and at that point, the second defendant made his submissions to the State Executive Council on the sale of the shares and it was approved.
“A memo was later raised by the commissioner of finance and I approved it. I had no dealings with either the Portfolio Manager, Fountain Securities Ltd or its Managing Director, Chief Kola Daisi”, he said.
Ladoja added he was not privy to the total amount of money that was realized from the sale of shares and that he did not personally benefit from it.
He said: “It is for the officials to follow-up with the revenue, my job stopped at the point of approving the sale of the shares. The revenue generated from the sale of the shares were expended on certain projects”.
Recalling the events that led to his impeachment on 3rd January, 2006, Ladoja said: “the group that called for my impeachment was led by the late Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu.
“The politician believed he has a right to security votes because he is securing the state but I thought otherwise. It was a running battle until I later found out that the presidency was involved. Some members of the State House of Assembly were promised a lot of things by Adedibu. I later got to know that my Deputy was also involved in the plot to remove me”.
He added that after his impeachment, one of his aides, Chief Adewale Atanda, advised him that he should leave Ibadan for Lagos to avoid any threat to his life.
He said he only stayed in his house for just two weeks before he relocated to a 9’safe house’ provided for him by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was then the Lagos State Governor.
“I had to find a place to be meeting my lawyers and supporters. So, Chief Atanda suggested that we should use a space in his hotel, Heritage Court and Inns.
“Throughout my stay in the hotel, I was responsible for the entertainment of my guests and there was no time the place was closed to public”, he said.
Upon cross-examination by the prosecution’s lawyer, Olabisi Oluwafemi, the former governor said he declared his assets on assumption of office in 2003.
He added that the sold shares were purchased during his tenure as governor of Oyo state.
Justice Idris has fixed 18th January, 2019, for parties to adopt their written addresses.