EFCC Arraigns Atiku’s Son-in-law For $2,140,000 Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Lagos Zonal office on Wednesday, August 14, 2019, arraigned one Abdullahi Babalele before Justice Iniekenimi Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court, sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos on a two-count charge, bordering on money laundering to the tune of $140, 000.

In a similar development, the EFCC, Lagos Zonal Office, same day, arraigned one Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie, a lawyer to Atiku, before Justice Oweibo on a three-count charge, bordering on money laundering to the tune of $2,000,000 (Two Million United State Dollars).

Babalele, who is son-in-law to Atiku Abubakar, former vice president and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential candidate in the 2019 election, allegedly persuaded one Bashir Mohammed to make a cash payment of $140,000 without going through any financial institution-an offence that runs contrary to Section 18(c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2100-as amended and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.

One of the charges against Babale 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 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 two charges. In view of his plea, prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, asked for a trial date and prayed the court to remand the defendant in prison custody pending trial.

Babale’s defence counsel, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, however, informed the court that his client had filed an application for bail and served same on the prosecution. Ozekhome, therefore, urged the court to grant bail to his client and to remand him in EFCC custody in event that the bail application was not determined today.

In his response, Oyedepo told the court that he was served the bail application this morning and that he needed time to respond to it, and further argued that the defendant be remanded in prison custody because EFCC detention facility was congested.

Consequently, Justice Oweibo adjourned the case to August 15, 2019 for determination of the bail application and ordered that the defendant be remanded in EFCC custody.

Giwa-Osagie was arraigned alongside his son, Erhunse Giwa-Osagie for a similar offence. The defendants were allegedly in possession of the sum of $2million cash without going through any financial institution.

One of the charges against Giwa-Osagie reads: “That you, Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie and Erhunse Giwa-Osagie, sometime in February, 2019 in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, considered to commit an offence to wit: making cash payment of the sum of $2,000,000.00 (Two Million United State Dollars) without going through a financial institution, which sum exceeded the amount authorized by law and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a), and 1(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.”

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges, following which prosecution counsel, Oyedepo, asked for the court a trial date and for the defendants to be remanded in prison custody.

Counsel to the first defendant, Ahmed Raji, SAN, as well as counsel to the second defendant, Quarkers Norrison, SAN, both informed the court that their clients were only served with the charges yesterday, Tuesday, August 13, 2019.

Despite the short notice, the defence counsels told the court that they had filed applications for the bail of their clients and urged the court to grant them bail.

They, however, added that their clients be remanded in the EFCC custody “in case the application is not determined today.”

The prosecution counsel, Oyedepo, informed the court that he was served the bail applications this morning and would need time to go through them and respond accordingly.

Justice Oweibo adjourned the case to August 15, 2019 for determination of the bail applications and ordered that the defendants be remanded in EFCC custody.

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