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Ladoja bought cars for lawmakers to avoid impeachment – Witness

Former Governor Rashidi Ladoja of Oyo State

The Federal High Court in Lagos Tuesday heard that former Oyo State Governor Rashidi Ladoja allegedly bought cars for lawmakers to prevent his impeachment.

A prosecution witness, Mr. Adewale Atanda, said this while testifying in Ladoja’s trial before Justice Mohammed Idris.

He had earlier testified that the former governor gave directive that Oyo State’s shares be sold.

He said N634million, which was part of the commission and profit realised by stockbrokers handling the shares’ sale, were used as slush funds to prevent Ladoja’s impeachment.

The witness said the N634million was delivered to him by the stockbrokers.

He said he removed N180million from the sum, which he had earlier borrowed and spent on Ladoja’s instructions during the heat of the impeachment saga.

Part of the N180million, he said, was the N80million he obtained from Wema Bank Plc, which Ladoja used to purchase 22 vehicles for Oyo State lawmakers to prevent his impeachment.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) re-arraigned Ladoja for allegedly converting N4.7billion from the state treasury to his personal use.

He was charged along with Waheed Akanbi on eight counts of money laundering and unlawful conversion of public funds.

Atanda, who was Ladoja’s Special Executive Assistant, said under cross-examination: “The loan was taken through V. T. Leasing Limited, and disbursement were made to the vendors of the vehicles which were collected by Oyo State government.

“I used V. T. Leasing Limited to apply for the loan from Wema bank. Although I am a shareholder with less than one percent, I used my goodwill to get the loan and I did not make any application.

“I did not know the condition attached to the vehicles given to members of State Assembly loyal to Governor Ladoja.

“The vehicles were collected by the Oyo State government’s drivers before handling them to Ladoja’s loyalists at the State House of Assembly members.”

Ladoja was governor from May 29, 2003 to January 12, 2006 when he was impeached. On November 1, 2006, the Appeal Court Ibadan, declared the impeachment null and illegal.

The Supreme Court upheld the decision on November 11, 2009, and Ladajo resumed office on December 12, 2006. He, however, lost a re-election bid.

The witness said another N633 million loan he collected when Ladoja returned as governor was part of expenses incurred when he shut down his hotel for one year to house Ladoja and his 14 loyalists in the Assembly during the impeachment saga.

He said his hotel, Heritage Court and Inn, on Plot 176, Moshood Olugbani Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, was shut down from December 2005 to December 2006, because Ladoja’s life was at risk.

He said there was no agreement that he would be paid back as no one thought Ladoja would return as Governor.

He said when Ladoja was reinstated; he collected the N633 million on Ladoja’s instruction.

Atanda also said he personally delivered £600,000 to Ladoja’s daughter, Bimpe, in London.

Justice Idris has adjourned till May 25 for continuation of trial.


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