By Usman Shuaibu
Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Thursday, adjourned indefinitely the ongoing trial of a former governor of Oyo State, Rasheed Ladoja.
Mr Ladoja is facing trial alongside a former Commissioner for Finance in the state, Waheed Akanbi, for allegedly laundering a sum of N4.7 billion from the coffers of the Oyo State government.
At Thursday’s sitting, the prosecution counsel, O. O. Olabisi, stated that he had filed an amended charge against the defendant before the court.
He also prayed for an extension of the fiat issued to the judge by the President of the Court of Appeal to conclude the matter this month.
Justice Idris is among the 12 High Court judges recently elevated to the Court of Appeal.
Counsel to the first defendant, Bolaji Onilenla, opposed the application of prosecution to amend the charge,saying, “At this critical stage, the prosecution cannot amend the charge.”
Mr Onilenla, however, aligned himself with the prayer of the prosecution for an extension of the fiat given the presiding judge.
Counsel to the second defendant, Olumide Fisikan, sought to move his application of no-case submission.
He also aligned himself with other counsel in the matter that the judge should seek an extension of the fiat on the matter.
In his short ruling, Justice Idris held that either party was at liberty to apply to the President of the Court of Appeal for the renewal of the fiat in line with the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act, ACJA.
“To be on a safe side, this case must be adjourned sine die,” he further held.
The defendants were first arraigned in 2008 before Justice A.R. Mohammed.
They, however, challenged the validity of the charges up to the Supreme Court.
The apex court in 2015 dismissed their appeal and ordered them to go back to the lower court to face their trial.
They were subsequently re-arraigned on December 14, 2016 before Justice Idris.