Babalakin Gets Date On Bid To Quash Fraud Charge


A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja will on 9 July, 2013 rule on the application filed by the embattled chairman of Bicourtney Services Ltd, Dr. Wale Babalakin (SAN) seeking to quash the N4.7 billion charge brought against him and four other by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Trial Judge, Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo adjourned proceedings in the matter today till 9 July after hearing arguments by parties in the case.

Babalakin is standing trial alongside Alex Okoh and their companies — Stabilini Visioni Ltd., Bi-Courtney Ltd. and Renix Nigeria Ltd.for allegedly transferring N4.7 billion on behalf of convicted former Delta State governor, James Ibori.

The defendants are facing a 27-count charge bordering on conspiracy, retention of proceeds of a criminal conduct and corruptly conferring benefit on account of public action.

At the trial today, Babalakin’s Lawyer, Chief Lateef Fagbemi urged the court to quash the charges filed against his client on the ground that the Lagos State criminal code law and criminal procedure law under which the fiat to prosecute his client was obtained, has been repelled.

He contended that a fiat obtained in 2003 under a law that has been repelled cannot be used to prosecute his client for an alleged offence in 2012

Counsel to second defendant, Alex Okoh, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) in persuading the court to strike out the charge, argued that the charge and prove of evidence does not support the information filed by the EFCC against his client.

He contended that the EFCC has not showned that the alleged money for which his client is been charged along with others is a proceed of any particularly proven crime.

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Other counsel in the matter also argued in the same vein insisting that the EFCC did not follow the right procedure in filing the charges against their client.

Responding separately to each of the arguments by counsel to the defendants, EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Jacob (SAN)urged the court to uphold the charges against the defendant as the right procedure was followed in filing the charge.

He argued that the power to prosecute offences, except court martials,has been invested on the EFCC by the constitution.

Rotimi further contended that under sections 174 and 216 of the constitution, no monopoly is invested on the state or federal attorney generals along to prosecute crimes. He insisted that EFCC can indeed prosecute the defendants with fiat which has been rightly obtained by the commission from the Lagos state attorney general.

He insisted that contrary to the arguments of defense counsel, fiat to prosecute cases in Lagos were obtained from the constitution and Lagos state high court law and not under the Lagos criminal law or procedure law.

He urged the court to strike out all four applications seeking to quash the charges as they constitute an abuse of court process and an attempt to waste the time of court.

It will be recalled that Justice Onigbanjo had dismissed a similar application filed by Bicourtney Services Ltd seeking to quash the charge.

—Henry Ojelu

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