N4.75bn Fraud: Ladoja Must Face Trial – Court

The Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos has rejected the stay on application of a former governor of Oyo State, Rasheedi Ladoja to pend further proceedings on the    N4.7bn fraud case reopened against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Ladoja’s counsel, Bolaji Onilenla, had said that there was an appeal challenging the competence of the charge at the Supreme Court.

Justice Idris in his ruling  said an appeal in the higher court cannot stall the proceeding of a criminal  trial. He said that the provision of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 (ACJA) gives room for a trial to proceed even if there is an appeal in a higher court. The judge also ruled against the applicant’s objection to the representation of Oluwafemi Olabisi,  a barrister in Festus Kiyamo’s chamber. In the application, Onilenla said only Festus Kiyamo can represent the EFCC as he was the one given a fiat by the attorney general of the Federation. Idris said the fiat was given to Kiyamo’s chamber and not to Kiyamo as a person. Thus, anyone from the chamber can represent EFCC in court.

Justice Mohammed Idris adjourned the case to the 14th of December, 2016 for the arraignment of the former governor.

The commission had approached the court to seek warrant for the arrest of the former governor following his absence in court for his re-arraignment last Friday. Onilenla however pleaded with the court not to issue a warrant for his client’s arrest, stating that his client was not properly informed.

Ladoja, however,  appeared before the court today alongside his former aide, Chief Waheed Akanbi.

The duo were first arraigned in 2008 and had proceeded to appeal the competence of their charge up to the highest court.  The supreme court ruled out the appeal for lacking in competence. Ladoja filed an application to re-list the appeal at the supreme Court on 27th of October, 2016.

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