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N4.7bn Money Laundering: Babalakin Again Fails To Appear In Court

Channels Television  
Updated December 12, 2012

The arraignment of the Managing Director of Bi -Courtney Ltd; Dr Wale Babalakin by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over an alleged N4.7billion money laundering charge was again stalled on Wednesday owing to the defendant’s absence in court and his controversial illness.

Mr Babalakin (SAN) is alleged to have laundered the funds on behalf of the convicted former governor of Delta State, Mr James Ibori.

The case however took a new twist as his lawyer; Chief Ebun Sofunde (SAN) announced his withdrawal from the case.

Mr Sofunde withdrew from the money laundering charge filed by the EFCC against his client, citing personal reasons.

He however did say that if Mr Babalakin wishes to challenge his withdrawal, he may decide to tell the court the actual reason behind his withdrawal from the matter.

Presiding Judge, Justice Onigbanjo granted his request for withdrawal and another Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Bolaji Ayorinde, announced his appearance for Mr Babalakin.

Chief Ayorinde told the court that he had filed an application for an adjournment of the case as Mr Babalakin is still receiving treatment at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).

Outside the court, however, counsel to the EFCC, Mr Jacobs described the defence claims as a ploy geared at frustrating the arraignment and prosecution of Mr Babalakin.

Justice Onigbanjo adjourned the case till the 17th of January, 2013.

Meanwhile, in an another case before the Federal High Court Ikoyi involving Mr Bablakin, the presiding Judge; Justice Mohammed Idris adjourned till Thursday the 13th of December, the hearing of a preliminary objection filed by the EFCC.

The Commission is challenging the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to make an order which can affect the proceedings at the Lagos High Court Ikeja.

If the court agrees with the EFCC, the case at the Federal High Court will be struck out but if the court rules against the Commission, it will then proceed to determine the issues of the legality of the charges against Mr Babalakin and whether the EFCC can proceed against him without the fiat of the Attorney General of Lagos.