The Federal High Court in Lagos acquitted and discharged a former Oyo State Governor, Rashidi Ladoja, of the N4.7bn fraud charges pressed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The case, which began in 2008, was dismissed by Justice Mohammed Idris who said the evidence brought to court against Ladoja and Waheed Akanbi, a former Oyo State Commissioner for Finance was too low on credible evidence.
“The EFCC failed to call relevant witnesses that could have helped it to prove its case. The six witnesses it called gave inconsistent and contradictory testimonies.
“Most of the documents which the EFCC tendered in support of its case were lacking in probative value.
“The prosecution was inconsistent with the amount of money it claimed that the defendants diverted and laundered,” Idris said.
Justice Idris further described the case against Ladoja and Akanbi as unjust and said if anyone was to be prosecuted for the alleged fraud, it should have been the persons who the EFCC fielded as prosecution witnesses two, three and four.
“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. For this reason, I agree with the 1st defendant when he stated that to sustain the 11 counts, the prosecution called six witnesses, three of whom, being PW2, PW3 and PW4, are particeps criminis, who adduced material evidence.”
“This country cannot sustain the fight against corruption in the manner in which this case has been prosecuted, where those that should be proper defendants in the case were shielded from prosecution. This is injustice and this court will not partake in an injustice.”
“Prosecutors must be committed to promoting a justice system founded on fairness, equity, compassion,” he added.