The Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday discharged and acquitted a former Governor of Oyo State, Gov. Rasheed Ladoja whose case was based on fraud charges of N4.7bn. The fraud charges were pressed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in 2008.
Justice Mohammed Idris who gave the judgment said the evidence against the accused was “too low on credible evidence”. The judge referred to documents presented by EFCC as documents that lack probative value.
“There is a thin line between success and failure; that thin line is called credible evidence. “The case of the prosecution is too low on credible evidence….there is no way government would succeed in its anti-corruption fight when real offenders are shielded…. prosecutors must be committed to promoting a justice system founded on fairness, equity, compassion” The judge said.
Justice Idris said as the prosecution failed to prove any of the 11 counts against Ladoja and Akanbi, a former Oyo State Commissioner for Finance, was unable to convict them as requested by the EFCC.
Ladoja, while discussing with the journalists expressed his gratitude to God and appreciated the judge for having proper understating of the case before him. He said, “The 11-year-old trial has taken a toll on me. But I only hope that this will be a lesson to the prosecution.”
“What interests me about the judgment is the fact that the judge made some fundamental observations. That if you want to fight corruption in Nigeria, the prosecution should work better” Ladoja said.
Mr Ladoja became governor of Oyo State on May 29, 2003 as a member of the Peoples Democratic Party.
He was impeached in January 2006, but reinstated in December 2006. Mr Ladoja’s term ended in 2007.