The Economic and Financial Crimes C o m m i s s i o n (EFCC) has urged Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of a Federal High Court in Lagos to dismiss a no-case motion filed by Abdullahi Babalele, the son-in-law to a former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, currently standing trial on a 2-count charge of alleged laundering $140, 000.
The anti-graft agency had alleged that Babalele laundered the money on February 20, 2019, with the aid one, Bashir Mohammed, a Bureau De Change (BDC) operator, without going through financial institutions.
The defendant however denied the offences which were said to have contravened Sections 18(c), 18(a), 1(a), 16(1), (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 16, 16(2)(b)16(2)(b) of the same Act. In the course of trial, the EFCC called two witnesses and tendered several documents which were admitted as exhibits by the court.
But, at the end of the prosecution’s case, the defendant filed a no-case motion, rather than opening his defence to the allegations against him. Arguing the motion, Babalele’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), urged the court to discharge and acquit his client of the offence because he has no case to answer.
The silk contended that the prosecution through all evidences given, has not been able to link his client to the commission of any crime. He added that the antigraft agency has not fulfilled four elements of Section 303 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, of no-case submission, in asking the court to order his client to open his defence.
Responding, EFCC’s lawyer, Usman Buhari, while urging the court to dismiss the no-case submission, said the commission has proved its case against the defendant with the two witnesses called as well as the overwhelming evidences before the court. He urged the court to direct the defendant to open his defence. Ruling on the motion has been fixed for December 21.
In a related development, further hearing in the trial of Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie, lawyer to former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his brother, Erhunse Giwa-Osagie, over alleged laundering of $2 million has been adjourned to December 11.
Justice Aneke further adjourned the matter to allow the EFCC respond to a letter said to have been written by Uyiekpen, a senior lawyer in the law firm of Africa Law Practice (ALP), for a review of the charges against him. In asking the court for the adjournment, EFCC’s lawyer, Usman Buhari, said the anti-graft agency is still studying the letter.