The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday asked the Federal High Court in Lagos to order the arrest of former Oyo State Governor Rashidi Ladoja over his alleged refusal to show up in court for arraignment in a N4.7 billion money laundering charge.
Ladoja was charged along with his former aide, Chief Waheed Akanbi.
Prosecuting counsel Olabisi Oluwafemi said the defendants were invited to the EFCC, but did not honour the invitation.
According to him, the defendants deliberately stayed away from the court and merely sent their lawyers to represent them.
He urged the court to issue a bench warrant against the defendants.
But, Ladoja’s lawyer, Bolaji Onilenle, said he did not know the matter was for arraignment as the case was still pending at the Supreme Court.
Besides, he said the EFCC gave a fiat to Mr Festus Keyamo to prosecute the case, not Oluwafemi who is a counsel in Keyamo’s firm.
“We are challenging the locus standi of the prosecuting lawyer to set this matter down for hearing. If the fiat is given to Keyamo, no other person in his chamber can take it over. It cannot be transferred.
“Keyamo should personally prosecute it; he cannot transfer the prosecutorial power to any other person in his chamber,” Onilenle said.
He said Ladoja had filed an application to relist his appeal which was struck out at the Supreme Court.
The defence counsel added that to continue with the trial would amount to disrespecting the Supreme Court.
Ladoja had through his former lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), appealed against the decision of a Federal High Court, Lagos which refused to quash the 10 counts of money laundering.
But the Court of Appeal ordered the former governor to continue his trial at the lower court.
EFCC alleged that Ladoja and Akanbi conspired to convert properties and resources derived from an alleged illegal act with the intention of concealing their illicit origin.
The anti-graft agency also alleged that Ladoja used N42million out of the proceeds to purchase an Armoured Land Cruiser Jeep and remitted about £600,000 to one Bimpe Ladoja in London.
Ladoja and Akanbi had pleaded not guilty when they were first arraigned.
Justice Mohammed Idris adjourned until November 25 for ruling on the application for warrant of arrest.