The governorship candidate of the Accord Party in Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, has denied returning any money to the coffers of either the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or the state government.
He was reacting to a newspaper report, on Monday, which quoted the state governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, as claiming that Ladoja returned the sum of N500 million to the anti-graft agency as part of a plea bargain deal.
But in a statement on Tuesday by the Director-General of his campaign organization, Mr Adeolu Adeleke, the AP governorship candidate said Governor Ajimobi’s purported statement, which was meant to bring his (Ladoja’s) name to disrepute, was borne out of desperation.
Ladoja, who challenged the governor to substantiate his claim, said the “misinformation” would be challenged in the court of law.
“We boldly affirm that Senator Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja, at no time refunded any amount to the coffers of either the EFCC or the Oyo State government and there was no plea bargain of any sort between Senator Ladoja and the EFCC.
“We are aware of the desperate measures of Senator Ajimobi to hang on to power by impugning the credibility of Senator Ladoja, who has become his political nemesis,” the statement said.
“In the light of the above, Ladoja has accordingly directed his legal team to institute a legal action against Ajimobi for libel as soon as the courts are reopened”.
Meanwhile, Gov. Ajimobi has maintained his position that Ladoja returned the said money, which he called ‘stolen loot’.
Speaking through Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Olalekan Alli on Tuesday, Ajimobi said, “Ladoja’s denial of his refund of Oyo State’s stolen loot is not only regrettable, but lamentable. The general public will recall that in 2008, Ladoja was embroiled in allegation of theft of proceeds from shares belonging to the state government, which he converted to personal use.
“He was subsequently arrested and detained by the EFCC. Ladoja returned the sum of N500m to the EFCC, which thereafter drew a cheque later collected by the state government”.