A court has discharged Atiku Abubakar’s son-in-law accused of fraud.
Abdullahi Babalele was yesterday set free by a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos. He was arraigned on a two-count charge of laundering $140,000.
Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke threw out the charge file by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the ground of wrong venue.
The judge held that the charge against the defendant ought not to have been filed in Lagos when the alleged offence was said to have been committed in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
He relied on the Supreme Court’s decision in a case between the EFCC and Mohammed Dele Belgore on territorial jurisdiction.
Babalele was arraigned in 2018 and then re-arraigned on October 8, 2019.
The EFFC accused Babalele of giving former President Olusegun Obasanjo $140,000 on the instruction of Abubakar, who was vying for the office of president in 2019.
He pleaded not guilty on each occasion. When trial started, the prosecution called two witnesses and tendered several documents that were admitted in evidence.
It closed its case against the defendant on November 25, 2020.
At the last hearing on December 7, Babalele’s counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), filed a no-case submission, praying the court to dismiss the charge.