Law News
N4.7bn fraud: Court rules on Babalakin’s objection Jan 19


A Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja has slated January 19, 2015 as the date to give ruling on the prelimary objection filed by the Chairman of Bi-Courtney Limited, Wale Babalakin and four others against the allegation of N4.7bn fraud levelled against them.

Babalakin, Alex Okoh, Stabilini Visinoni Limited, Bi-Courtney Limited and Renix Nigeria Limited are facing 27 counts in relation to conspiracy to commit felony, retention of proceeds of criminal conduct and corruptly conferring benefit on account of public action.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had alleged that the defendants aided a convicted former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, to siphon public funds into his foreign bank account for the purpose of purchasing a jet.

The defendants had, however, through their counsel, Dr. Biodun Layonu (SAN), Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), Mr. Roland Otaru (SAN), Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN), and Mr. Oladapo Adeosun, filed preliminary objection, asking the court to dismiss the 27 counts, as they argued that the charges were defective and could not be sustained.

It was part of their contentions that all the charges against them were predicated on repealed laws of Lagos State, and as such, could not be sustained.

They also submitted that they were not properly informed of the details of the offence for which they were being charged, as provided by the Constitution.

They also contested their joint-prosecution by the EFCC and the Attorney-General of the Federation, saying that such was an aberration in criminal justice.

Apart from that, the defendants also argued that Section 98 of the Criminal Code of Lagos State, 2003, under which they were charged, dealt with only public officers.

According to their counsel, Ibori, on behalf of whom Babalakin and others allegedly transferred the alleged stolen money, was not contemplated in law as a public officer.

They therefore asked the court to dismiss the charges for want of substance.

The court will, on January 19, 2015, decide whether or not the charges were valid and whether or not to order the defendants to proceed into the dock to take their plea.

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