Lagos – A Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos State, on Wednesday ordered Abdullahi Babalele, son-in-law of Atiku Abubakar, to be remanded in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Atiku Abubakar was candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last presidential election.
To be remanded alongside Babalele were Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie, reported to be Atiku’s lawyer, and the lawyer’s brother, Erhunse Giwa-Osagie.
The three were to be remanded over alleged money laundering charges said to have been committed during the build-up to the 2019 general elections.
Justice Nicholas Oweibo ordered that the defendants be remanded in EFCC’s custody till today when their bail applications would be entertained following their not-guilty plea.
Prior to the remand order, the EFCC had arraigned the trio on two different charges.
While Atiku’s son-in-law, Babalele, was slammed with a two count-charge of laundering $140,000, the Giwa-Osagie brothers were arraigned on a three-count charge of laundering $2 million.
In the charge against Babalele, the EFCC alleged that he had on February 20, 2019, procured and aided one Bashir Mohammed to make cash payment of the sum of $140,000, without going through a financial institution.
The Giwa-Osagie brothers were alleged to have on February 12, 2019, aided each other and made cash payment of $2 million without going through a financial institution.
The offences, according to the prosecution, were contrary to 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.
After the defendants’ pleas were separately taken, lawyer to Atiku’s son-in-law, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), and those of the Giwa-Osagie brothers, Ahmed Raji and Norrison Quakers (SANs), told the court that they had filed and served the prosecution with their clients’ bail applications, but that the EFCC was yet to file any response to the applications.
Both Ozekhome and Ahmed Raji, in their separate submissions, informed the court that the prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, had told them that he would file his response on Wednesday.
They, therefore, urged the court to allow their clients to be in the custody of the EFCC till today when the applications would be heard and determined.
Responding, the prosecutor, Oyedepo, admitted that the defendants’ bail applications had been served on his office since last week but that he had just laid his hands on them. He undertook to file his responses to the applications.
Oyedepo told the court that the proper place to remand the defendants after a plea had been taken was prison custody, adding that the agency’s remand facility was overstretched.
He, therefore, urged the court to remand the defendants in prison custody till the hearing and determination of their bail applications.
However, Justice Oweibo, in his ruling, ordered that the three defendants be remanded in EFCC’s custody.