A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Monday reserved judgment in the N4.7bn criminal case brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission( EFCC) against the former Governor of Oyo State, Sen. Rashidi Ladoja, and one of his aides, Waheed Akanbi.
Justice Mohammed Idris reserved judgment after counsel representing both parties had adopted their final addresses before the court.
Ladoja was charged the the EFCC for allegedly converting N4.7bn from the state’s treasury to his personal use.
He was arraigned along with Akanbi, former Commissioner for Finance in Ladoja’s administration, on eleven counts of money laundering and unlawful conversion of public funds.
Both of them pleaded not guilty to the charges, and were granted bails.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that presentation of evidences in the trial closed on November 17, 2018, after Ladoja had given his evidence before the court. The court at the time had adjourned for adoption of final addresses.
Adopting his address on Monday, the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Oluwafemi Olabisi, urged the court to hold that the prosecution had been able to establish its case against the accused based on evidences shown before the court
He argued that the most important part of the prosecution’s case was based on money received as proceeds of crime.
According to him, offences of this nature do not give room for acknowledgment of monies taken from government coffers.
He stressed that the court was enjoined to look at circumstantial evidences in arriving at its decision.
Olabisi urged the court to discountenance evidences provided by defence witnesses, and hold that the prosecution had been able to establish its case against the accused.
In his own argument, the defense counsel, Mr Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika urged the court to discharge and acquit the accused on the grounds that the prosecution had a weak case incapable of securing any conviction.
“If there is no foundation, the super structure cannot stand,” he said.
Olumide-Fusika argued that no prosecution witness was able to link the accused with the alleged offences, adding that the prosecution was only concerned with securing conviction at all cost.
He argued that the statement used by the prosecutor in his written address that “the second defendant in the very least, did conspire to commit the offence” was incapable of establishing his guilt.
He urged the court to be sensitive to evidences shown as PW2 who testified as having engaged in the sale of the Oyo State shares and was never charged.
Finally, he urged the court to discharge and acquit the accused as there was no evidences against them, adding that the evidences by prosecution witnesses, even supports the innocence of the accused.
After listening to the submissions of both counsels, Justice Idris commended them for seeing the trial to the end.
He informed parties in the case that he will reserve his judgment and the counsels will receive notices within a short time to know the judgment day.