A witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Mr. Adewale Atanda has described how the former Governor of Oyo State, Chief Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja sent £600,000 to his daughter, Bimpe, in London sometime in 2007.
Ladoja is being tried for alleged N4.7bn fraud during his tenure as governor of Oyo State.
The prosecution witness, Mr. Atanda, who was then Senior Special Executive Assistant to Ladoja, told the court that the money was part of a sum of N634m, which some stockbrokers contributed to forestall Ladoja’s impeachment.
According to him, the ex-governor had earlier instructed the sale of some shares belonging to the Oyo State Government to the said stockbrokers who later contributed N634m to forestall his impeachment.
The N634 million, Atanda said, was part of the commission and profit realised by the stockbrokers.
He said out of the N634 million delivered to him by the stockbrokers, he had to removed about N180 million which he had earlier borrowed and spent on Ladoja’s instructions during the heat of the impeachment.
Part of the N180m, he said, was the N80 million loan he obtained from Wema Bank Plc, which Ladoja used to purchase 22 vehicles for Oyo State lawmakers to prevent his impeachment.
Another was a loan of N80m, which he (Atanda) obtained from Lagoon Savings and Loans for the purpose of buying for Ladoja a property known as Quarters 361, which the Oyo State Government put up for sale and N13.8million which Ladoja used to buy two Land Cruiser vehicles for the state security personnel for his protection.
Atanda further said having deducted the N180 million which he borrowed on Ladoja’s behalf, he distributed the balance of the N634 million according to Ladoja’s instructions.
Among the beneficiaries of the money, he said, was Bimpe, to whom he delivered £600,000 in £50 bills in London sometime in 2007. Ladoja’s wife, Yinka, also got on different occasions sums of N20 million, N19.5 million and $13,000 Dollars.
Other beneficiaries, Atanda said, were lawyers including “Akintola and Olujinmi” who the witness said represented Ladoja in court.
Asked by the prosecutor, Oluwafemi Olabisi, under what circumstances the sum of £600,000 was paid to Bimpe Ladoja, Atanda said, “His Excellency wanted me to pay the money into his account but I had difficulty in doing it. I told him and he said he would ask his daughter to contact me. She did and I gave her the money.
“The money was mostly in £50 notes; I put it in small suitcases and handed the money over to her in London. I think it was in 2007,” the witness stated.
Atanda added that the N20 million he gave to Yinka Ladoja was probably what she had lent Ladoja during the impeachment heat. “On another occasion, they were conducting Local Government Area elections in the state. So, on the eve of the election, I think money was required to be distributed to all the local governments. I was in Lagos, she (Yinka) called me and said His Excellency said she should collect N19.5 million.
Then there was a time she was travelling and I was told to send $13,000 into her account,” Atanda added.
Under cross-examination by Ladoja’s lawyer, Bolaji Onilenla, Atanda said neither Bimpe nor Ladoja gave him anything to acknowledge the payment of the £600,000 to Bimpe.
At this point further proceedings were adjourned till April 12 and 13, 2017.
The EFCC is prosecuting Ladoja alongside a former Oyo State Commissioner for Finance, Waheed Akanbi.
The duo were arraigned on eight counts of money laundering on December 14, 2016 before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos.
They were accused of conspiring to siphon N4.7bn from the coffers of the state and launder same.