By Akin Kuponiyi
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has commenced the trial of Abdullahi Babalele, son-in-law of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, who was accused of laundering $140,000 in the build-up to the 2019 general elections.
The trial began before Justice C.J. Aneke at the Federal High Court in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria with the testimony of Bashir Mohammed, a close friend of Babalele.
Mohammed, who was led in evidence by the EFCC’s prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, narrated graphically how he delivered the naira equivalent of $140,000 cash to former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Babalele’s instruction
Mohammed told the court how he got a phone call from Babalele sometime in February, this year requesting him to deliver a message to “an elder statesman” who turned out to be former president Olusegun Obasanjo and that on Babalele’s request, he supplied two bank accounts, which were credited.
The witness said he took the money to Obasanjo’s residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
“When I got there, somebody came and took me inside where I met former President Obasanjo and delivered the message,” Mohammed said.
Under cross-examination by the defence counsel led by Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), Mohammed affirmed that he wrote a statement at the EFCC office during investigation.
Ozekhome’s bid to tender the statement as an exhibited was, however, opposed by the EFCC prosecutor.
Consequently, the presiding judge, Justice Aneke adjourned till tomorrow to rule on the admissibility of the statement of the witness.