29th June, 2015
Justice James Tsoho of a Federal High Court, Lagos, on Monday withdrew from a suit filed by Dr Wale Babalakin (SAN) against the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Babalakin, the Chairman of Bi-Courtney Ltd., in the suit, had accused both the AGF and the EFCC of making desperate efforts to prosecute him maliciously.
He is, however, seeking a judicial review against the actions of the AGF and EFCC.
Babalakin was on Feb. 23, discharged by Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo of an Ikeja High Court, along with Alex Okoh, Stabilini Visinoni Ltd., Bi-Courtney Ltd., and Renix Nigeria Ltd., over an alleged laundering of N4.7billion.
After two years in court, the judge ruled that there was no basis for the charge and, consequently, struck out the suit and discharged Babalakin and other defendants.
Justice Akapo had observed that the entire 27-count charge did not contain any single charge that constituted an offence under the laws of Nigeria.
However, following reports that the EFCC was planning to file the same charge against him, Babalakin promptly approached the Federal High Court to seek protection and a judicial review of the actions.
NAN reports that Justice Tsoho, had on April 29, granted a restraining order against EFCC, prohibiting the commission from proceeding with the action pending the determination of the suit.
The order was later vacated by the judge but the EFCC was asked to maintain the status quo ante pending the final determination of the suit.
However, during Monday’s proceedings, Tsoho announced his withdrawal from the suit following a petition from Babalakin’s lawyer to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, seeking the transfer of the case to another judge.
The basis of the petition dated 19th June, was that the ex-parte order restraining EFCC from arresting Babalakin was discharged by Justice Tsoho without a formal application.
After the judge announced his withdrawal from the suit, the EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, expressed his displeasure at the turn out of the event, adding that he was never served with a copy of the petition.