A former governor of Oyo State, Rashidi Ladoja, is most likely to be tried afresh for alleged N4.7bn fraud, external prosecutor for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Oluwafemi Olabisi, hinted on Thursday.
Ladoja was discharged and acquitted of the N4.7bn fraud charges last year February after 11 years of legal battle with the EFCC.
Justice Mohammed Idris dismissed the entire 11 counts filed against Ladoja and a former Commissioner for Finance in Oyo State, Waheed Akanbi, holding that the case of the EFCC lacked merit.
But in a chat with our correspondent on Thursday, Olabisi said Ladoja and Akanbi would most likely be tried afresh in view of the recent Supreme Court’s decision in the N7.1bn fraud case of a former Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, his company, Slok Nigeria Limited; and a former Director of Finance and Accounts at the Abia State Government House, Jones Udeogu.
The Supreme Court had in a May 8, 2020 judgment nullified the trial and conviction of Kalu, Slok and Udeogu on the grounds that Justice Idris, who convicted them lacked jurisdiction.
The apex court upheld the contention by Udeogu that Justice Idris concluded the trial and gave judgment after he had been elevated to the Court of Appeal and ceased to be a judge of the Federal High Court.
It was the same Justice Idris who handled and delivered judgment in Ladoja and Akanbi’s case.
Olabisi said the Supreme Court decision nullifying Justice Idris’ decision in Kalu’s case had affected Ladoja’s case.
Responding to enquiries by our correspondent on Ladoja’s case, Olabisi said, “You know we filed a notice of appeal before now. Whether we like it or not, we still need to bring an application before the Court of Appeal, clearly asking them that in view of Kalu’s case whether our appeal has not become academic. It will be by way of motion and once that appeal is taken care of, most likely, Ladoja will be re-arraigned.
“However, we still need to get a fresh briefing from our client, which is the EFCC.”