The intrigues playing out on the money laundering case instituted against legal practitioner and Bi-Courtney Chairman, Wale Babalakin, continued Friday as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) say there is no injunction stopping it from prosecuting the suspect.
A Federal High Court judgment delivered by Justice Mohammed Idris had restrained the agency from putting the businessman on trial.
A desperate Babalakin who had earlier claimed was hospitalized, apparently bought time to obtain the order to stop his arraignment in court for fraud charges.
Only yesterday, Babalakin reportedly checked himself into the Lagos Teaching Hospital (LUTH), 24 hours after he maintained he was ill and could not attend the hearing of case.
His ailment is yet disclosed but his lawyers tendered what is believed to be a spurious medical report issued by a LUTH specialist, Dr. Charles Harmound.
But refusing to be fazed by the Babalakin’s scheming, the EFCC within hours of the Idris judgement released a statement, insisting that their most wanted man will be tried.
The agency noted that many people have misinterpreted the judges’s ruling, adding that he “merely GRANTED LEAVE to the applicant to apply for an order of prohibition preventing the EFCC and the Attorney General of the Federation from going ahead with his arraignment.”
Below is a full text of the EFCC Press Statement.
Contrary to reports by a section of the media, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has not been stopped from arraigning Dr. Wale Babalakin by any court order.
The ruling by Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court, Lagos which many have construed as a restraining order, merely GRANTED LEAVE to the applicant to apply for an order of prohibition preventing the EFCC and the Attorney General of the Federation from going ahead with his arraignment.
This was one of three prayers sought by Babalakin through an ex-parte application. But Justice Idris turned down the two other prayers, which included an order to restrain the respondents from prosecuting the applicant.
Their motion on notice for interlocutory injunction against the EFCC and the AGF is scheduled to be heard on December 12, 2012.
Babalakin was to have been arraigned on Thursday November 30 before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of a Lagos State High Court, Ikeja on money laundering charges but failed to show up, claiming sudden illness that necessitated his hospitalization at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital.
The businessman and four others: Alex Okoh, Stabilini Visioni Limited, Bi-Courtney Limited and Remix Nigeria Limited are facing a 27-count charge for fraudulently transferring various sums of money on behalf of the former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, through third parties to some foreign accounts under the guise of purchasing a Challenger Jet Aircraft.
Justice Onigbanjo has adjourned the case to December 12, 2012.
Ag. Head, Media & Publicity