By Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos
Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High, Lagos, has fixed December 21 for the ruling on the no-case submission filed by Abdullahi Babalele, the son-in-law of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who is standing trial for money laundering and conspiracy to the tune of $140,000.
Justice Aneke fixed the date after Babalele’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, and the prosecution’s counsel, Usman Buhari, adopted their respective final addresses.
Babalele was re-arraigned on Thursday, October 8, 2019, on a two-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of $140,000.00.
One of the counts reads:
‘That you, Abdullahi Babalele, on or about the 20th day of February 2019 in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, procured Basir Mohammed to make a cash payment of the sum of $140,000.00 (One Hundred and Forty Thousand United States Dollars) without going through a financial institution, which sum exceeded the amount authorised by the Law and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(C) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.’
Babalele pleaded “not guilty” to the charge preferred against him, thereby prompting his trial.
The prosecution had called two witnesses and closed it case on November 25 several documents were tendered and admitted in evidence by the court in the course of the trial.
At the resumed sitting Monday, counsel to the defendant Mike Ozekhome urged the court to uphold the defendant’s no-case submission dated November 27, urging the court to hold that the defendant ‘has no case to answer at all to be called upon to enter any defence in the case.’
Ozekhome, in the application, also argued that the prosecution had not lent any credible evidence in support of the counts in the charge preferred against his client.
He prayed the court to hold that ‘no prima facie case has been established in any way or manner against the defendant’ and also urged the court to discharge him as prayed.
Prosecution counsel Buhari in his response urged the court to dismiss the defendant’s no-case submission.
Buhari submitted that the prosecution had been able to link the defendant to the offence and, therefore, he ‘has a case to answer.’
Justice Aneke, after listening to both parties, adjourned till December 21 for ruling on the defendant’s no-case submission.