Thu. Feb 25th, 2021

The Federal High Court in Lagos, on Monday, struck out the money laundering charges filed against Abdullahi Babalele, son-in-law of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had arraigned Babalele on two counts of money laundering sometime in August 2019.

He was accused of “procuring Bashir Mohammed to make a cash payment of $140,000 without going through any financial institution.”

According to the EFCC, the money exceeded the threshold stipulated by the money laundering law.

The anti-graft agency alleged that Babalele made the transaction on February 20, 2019, in contravention of Section 18 (c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 and was liable to be punished under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.

The prosecution had called two witnesses and tendered several documents that were admitted as exhibits during the trial.

However, Babalele’s counsel, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), on December 7 moved a no-case submission, urging the court to dismiss the charges against his client.

Ruling on the no-case submission on Monday, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke held that the prosecution filed the charges in a wrong jurisdiction.

Justice Aneke, who relied on the Supreme Court’s decision in a case between the EFCC and Mohammed Belgore on territorial jurisdiction, noted that the prosecution ought not to file the charges in Lagos when the offence was allegedly committed in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

He subsequently struck out the charges.

(Punch)

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