By Babajide Okeowo
A Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos State, on Monday, discharged a son-in-law to former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, Abdullahi Babalele, of 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.
He 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.
Justice Aneke 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.
Trial commenced and the prosecution called two witnesses and tendered several documents that were admitted in evidence, before closing 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.