Court Remands Atiku’s Son-in-law, Others in EFCC Custody for Alleged Money Laundering

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Davidson Iriekpen

A Federal High Court in Lagos Wednesday remanded Abdullahi Babalele, a son-in-law to the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last general election, Atiku Abubakar, and his lawyer, Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie, in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) till today, when their bail applications would be entertained.

Also ordered to be remanded in custody till thursday, is Atiku’s lawyer’s brother, Erhunse Giwa-Osagie.

The cour, presided by Justice Nicholas Oweibo, remanded Babalele, and the Giwa-Osagie brothers in the EFCC’s custody, after their not guilty pleas were taken.

Prior to the remand order, the EFCC had arraigned the trio on two different charges.

While the Atiku’s son-in-law was slammed with a two count-charge of laundering $140,000, the Giwa-Osagie brothers were arraigned on 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 in the sum of $140,000, without going through a financial institution.

In the same vein, the Osagie brothers were also 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, are 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’ not guilty pleas were separately taken, lawyer to Atiku’s son in-law, Mike Ozekhome, Ahmed Raji and Norrison Quakers, all Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) for Osagie’s brothers, told the court that they had filed and served the prosecution with their clients’ bail applications, but the EFCC is yet to file any response to the applications.

Both Ozekhome and Ahmed Raji in their separate submissions, informed the court that the prosecutor, Oyedepo, had told them that he would file his response today.

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, Rotimi Oyedepo, admitted that the defendants’ bail applications have been served on his office since last week but said he just laid his hands on them today.

He undertook to file his responses to the applications.

On where the defendants should be remanded after their pleas were taken, Oyedepo told the court that the proper place to remand was prison, adding that the agency’s remand facility was overstretched.

He, therefore, urged the court to remand the defendants in prison till the hearing and determination of their bail applications.

However, Justice Oweibo in his bench ruling, ordered that the three defendants be remanded in the EFCC’s custody till today, when their bail applications would be entertained and determined