The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Lagos Zonal office, on Thursday, October 8, 2019, re-arraigned one Abdullahi Babalele before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos on a two-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of $140,000.00.
Babalele, a son-in-law to a former Vice President and People’s Democratic Party( PDP) candidate in the 2019 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, allegedly persuaded one Bashir Mohammed, a Bureau De Change( BDC) operator, to make a cash payment of the sum of $140,000 without going through any financial institution, an offence contrary to Section 18(c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Abdullahi Babalele, on or about the 20th day of February 2019 in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, procured Basir Mohammed to make a cash payment of the sum of $140,000.00 (One Hundred and Forty Thousand the United States
Dollars) without going through a financial institution, which sum exceeded the amount authorized by the Law and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(C) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.”
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against him.
In view of his plea, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, informed the court of the existing bail earlier granted the defendant and applied for the commencement of the trial.
“My Lord, one of our witnesses is present in court,” Oyedepo said.
Counsel to the defendant, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, informed the court about an application before the court for the release of the international passport of the defendant.
The defendant’s counsel also told the court that he had attached some medical reports showing that the defendant is ill and that “he will need to undergo treatment abroad.“ My Lord, the health issues are life-threatening.”
Ozekhome, therefore, urged the court to grant the application and allow the defendant to travel abroad for three weeks.
Oyedepo opposed the application and urged the court to go through the medical report.
He pointed out that “there is no existing appointment made to see any doctors abroad.
“The report shows that the defendant has no issue of trauma, diabetes, high blood pressure or otherwise.”.
He, therefore, urged the court to refuse the application, saying there is no material evidence before the court to show that the defendant is in distress.
Justice Aneke adjourned the case to October 11,2019 for the ruling.