Dr. Wale Babalakin
Attempt by Mr. Wale Akoni, to report the intimidation and harassment of the Chairman of Bi-Courtney Limited, Dr. Wale Babalakin, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to a Federal High Court was Wednesday blocked by the anti-graft commission.
This came as Chief Ebun Sofunde (SAN), Babalakin’s lawyer at the Ikeja High Court where he was due to be arraigned yesterday on 27-count charge bordering on money laundering, announced his withdrawal from the matter.
Babalakin is currently on admission at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) for an undisclosed ailment
Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court had granted leave to Babalakin on November 29, 2012 to apply for an order of prohibition to review the constitutionality and the legality of the charge preferred against him at the Lagos High Court, Ikeja.
At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, Akoni had attempted to inform the court about the event that occurred after the order.
Akoni said: “My Lord, there have been issues that came up after we were granted leave at the last adjourned date. Despite the clear meaning, intent, effect and implication that by the leave granted us, all actions relating to the application are to be stayed, there have been moves to the contrary.”
At this stage, EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) objected to Akoni’s submission on the ground that his submission came rather too late after the proceedings of the day had been adjourned.
Jacobs said: “My Lord, I seriously object to further submission after this matter had been adjourned. Your Lordship has adjourned the matter till tomorrow so all submissions are to wait till the resumption of the matter again.”
Justice Idris later agreed with Jacobs and ruled that the matter remained adjourned.
Before the adjournment, Jacobs had told the court that the EFCC had filed both preliminary objection and counter affidavit to the suit.
He urged the court to allow him move the applications which he had filed.
But Akoni objected, saying he was served on December 6, and that going by the rules, he has seven days to react to the applications.
He thereafter prayed for short adjournment to enable him file necessary processes.
Meanwhile, at yesterday’s proceeding before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo in Ikeja, Sofunde announced his withdrawal from the matter.
Sofunde said his withdrawal was on personal reasons. According to him, though his decision contained in an application dated December 4, 2012 was on personal reasons, he however told the court that if his client wishes to challenge his withdrawal, he may decide to tell the court his actual reason for withdrawing from the matter.
Justice Onigbanjo in response promptly granted his request for withdrawal while Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), who represented the 3rd and 4th (Stabilini Vision Limited and Bi-Courtney) at the last sitting announced his appearance for Babalakin, the 1st defendant.
The EFCC had filed a 27-count charge against Babalakin and four others - Alex Okoh, Stabilini Visioni Limited, Bi-Courtney Limited and Remix Nigeria Limited.
They 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.