By Onwuka Gerald
A Federal High Court presiding in Lagos on Monday, freed Abdullahi Babalele, a son-in-law to Nigeria’s ex-Vice President, Atiku Abubakar on a two-count allegation of alleged fund embezzlement of $140,000.
Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke threw out the charge and discharged the defendant on basis that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had selected a wrong venue for filing the allegations.
According to the court, “The charge against Atiku’s son-in-law shouldn’t have been filed in Lagos, as the alleged offence was said to have been committed in Abeokuta.
Chief Justice Aneke confided on the Supreme Court’s decision in a case between the EFCC and Mohammed Dele Belgore concerning territorial jurisdiction.
Recall that defendant Babalele was arraigned by EFCC in 2018; then re-arraigned on October 8, 2019.
He was accused by the EFCC of issuing $140,000 to former President Olusegun Obasanjo , as directed by Atiku Abubakar, who was gunning for the Presidency in the 2019 elections.
Responding, Babalele pleaded not guilty to the allegation.
As the trail was ongoing, EFCC relied on two witnesses and made available several documents that were admitted in evidence, then moved to close the case on 25 November, 2020.
During the final hearing on December 7, Babalele’s counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), filed a no-case submission requesting that the court dismisses the case.
Counsel Ozekhome forwarded that no case had been made against his client that further warrantied him to make defence against.