The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Friday urged Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court in Lagos to issue a warrant for the arrest of a former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, along with his former aide, Chief Waheed Akanbi, for allegedly laundering N4.7bn.
A counsel for the anti-graft agency, Mr. Oluwafemi Olabisi, made the application on Friday following the absence of Ladoja in court for his proposed re-arraignment.
Olabisi told the court that the accused were invited to the EFCC, but that the duo did not honour the agency’s invitation and also deliberately stayed away from court.
He, therefore, urged the court to issue bench warrants against the accused, arguing that without their attendance in court, their trial could not proceed.
But Ladoja’s lawyer, Mr. Bolaji Onilenla, who said he was the one who instructed Ladoja to stay away from court on Friday, urged Justice Idris not to issue a warrant for the arrest of his client.
Onilenla argued that besides the fact that his client had not been properly informed of the re-opening of the case, his appeal against the charges at the Supreme Court was still pending.
Ladoja, who was first arraigned in 2008 alongside Akanbi, had since proceeded on appeal up to the Supreme Court to challenge the charges against him.
He also obtained an order to stay further proceedings in the case pending the outcome of the appeal.
But the Supreme Court on April 15, 2015 dismissed Ladoja’s appeal for being incompetent pursuant to the provisions of Order 6 Rule 3(2) of the Supreme Court Rules 1999.
However, Ladoja, who contended that he was not heard at all before the appeal was dismissed by the Supreme Court, had on October 27, 2016 filed an application seeking to re-list the appeal at the apex court.