20 December 2012

Nigeria: Babalakin Re-Institutes Action Against EFCC

Photo: This Day
Chairman of Bi-Courtney Limited, Dr. Wale Babalakin

Lagos — Embattled Chairman of Bi-Courtney, Dr. Wale Babalakin, SAN, yesterday, asked a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, to restrain Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, from arresting or prosecuting him for money laundering.

A similar suit, was last Friday, struck out by another judge of the court, Justice Mohammed Idris, who held that under Order 34 Rules 5 of the court's Civil Procedure Rules, the plaintiff was required to depose to and file an affidavit of service of court processes on the respondents, a requirement Babalakin failed to comply with.

The new trial judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba, has, however, granted accelerated hearing in the matter, when same came before him, yesterday and adjourned further hearing till today.

EFCC had filed a 27-count charge against Babalakin and four others, Alex Okoh, Stabilini Visioni Limited, Bi-Courtney Limited and Remix Nigeria Limited, before a Lagos High Court sitting in Lagos.

The defendants were alleged to have fraudulently transferred various sums of money amounting to N4.7 billion on behalf of the former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, through third party to some foreign accounts under the guise of purchasing a Challenger Jet aircraft.

On the day Babalakin was to have been arraigned, his counsel reported to the court that he took ill and was admitted at the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital, LUTH, which forced the court to adjourned the case.

On the same day, Babalakin headed to the Federal High Court, Lagos, seeking to quash the charges preferred against him by the EFCC at the Lagos court.

Babalakin, who is on admission at LUTH, in the fresh suit, is contending, that he was not challenging the jurisdiction of the Lagos State High Court, but also challenging the legality of the actions of the respondents.

His counsel argued that Babalakin's rights had been seriously trampled upon, adding that the EFCC even continued to extract statements from him after the charge at the Lagos High Court was filed, not minding the fact that he had been deceived that no such thing would happen.

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