A Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, on Wednesday, remanded former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s son-in-law, Abdullahi Babalele, a lawyer, Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie, who is said to be Atiku’s lawyer and the brother to the lawyer, Erhunse Giwa-Osagie, in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) until today, when their bail applications would be entertained.
The court presided over by Justice Nicholas Oweibo, remanded Babalele and the Giwas-Osagie brothers in EFCC’s custody, after pleas were taken in their money laundering charges.
Prior to the remand order, the EFCC had arraigned the trio on two different charges.
While Atiku’s son-in-law, Babalele was slammed with a two count-charge of laundering $140, 000, the Giwa-Osagie brothers were arraigned on a three –counts- charge of laundering $200 million.
In the charge against Babalele, the EFCC alleged that he had on February 20, procured and aided one Bashir Mohammed to make cash payment of the sum of $140,000 without going through any financial institution.
In the same vein, the Osagie brothers were also alleged to have on February 12, aided each other and made cash payment of $2 million without going through the financial institutions.
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 defendant’s not guilty pleas were separately taken, lawyer to Atiku’s son in-law, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, Ahmed Raji and Norrison Quakers both (SANs) for the Osagie brothers, told the court that they have 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 submission informed the court that the prosecutor, Oyedepo, had told them that he will file his response today.
They therefore, urged the court to allow their clients to be in the custody of the EFCC till today (Thursday) when the applications would be heard and determined.
Responding, the prosecutor, 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 (Wednesday).
He undertook to file his responses to the applications today (Thursday), informing the court that the proper place to remand the defendants after plea is taken is prison custody, adding that the agency’s remand facility is overstretched.
He therefore, urged the court to remand the defendants in prison custody till the hearing and determination of their bail applications.
However, Justice Oweibo in his bench ruling, ordered that the three defendants be remanded in EFCC’s custody till today (Thursday), when their bail applications shall be entertained and determined.