Alleged $2.14m Fraud: EFCC Arraigns Atiku’s Son-in-law, Lawyer

Alleged $2.14m Fraud: EFCC Arraigns Atiku’s Son-in-law, Lawyer

Wednesday, August 14, 2019 10:35 pm


 

 

Lagos Zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Wednesday arraigned Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie, a lawyer to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the last general election, before Justice Oweibo, on a three-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of $2 million.

Giwa-Osagie was arraigned alongside his son, Erhunse Giwa-Osagie, for a similar offence.

The defendants were allegedly in possession of the sum of $2 million cash without going through any financial institution.

One of the charges against Giwa-Osagie reads: “That you, Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie and Erhunse Giwa-Osagie, sometime in February, 2019, in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, considered to commit an offence to wit: making cash payment of the sum of $2,000,000.00 without going through a financial institution, which sum exceeded the amount authorized by law and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a), and 1(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.”

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, asked the court for a trial date and for the defendants to be remanded in prison custody.

Counsel to the first and second defendants​, Ahmed Raji (SAN) and Quarkers Norrison (SAN), respectively, both informed the court that their clients were only served with the charges on Tuesday, August 13, 2019.

The defence counsel told the court that despite the short notice, they had filed applications for the bail of their clients and urged the court to grant them bail.

They added that their clients be remanded in the EFCC custody, “in case the application is not determined today.”

The prosecution counsel, Oyedepo, informed the court that he was served the bail applications same day and would need time to go through them and respond accordingly.

Justice Oweibo adjourned the case to August 15, 2019 for determination of the bail applications and ordered that the defendants be remanded in EFCC custody.

In a related development, the anti graft agency also arraigned one Abdullahi Babalele, before Justice Iniekenimi Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court, sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on a two-count charge, bordering on money laundering to the tune of $140, 000.

Babalele, who is son-in-law to Atiku Abubakar, former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, allegedly persuaded one Bashir Mohammed, to make a cash payment of $140,000 without going through any financial institution, an offence that runs contrary to Section 18(c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2100-as amended and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.

One of the charges against Babalele 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, without going through a financial institution, which sum exceeded the amount authorized 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.”

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the two charges.

In view of his plea, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, asked for a trial date and prayed the court to remand the defendant in prison custody pending trial.

Babalele’s defence counsel, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), however informed the court that his client had filed an application for bail and served same on the prosecution.

Ozekhome therefore urged the court to grant bail to his client and to remand him in EFCC custody in event that the bail application was not determined today.

In his response, Oyedepo told the court that he was served the bail application this morning and that he needed time to respond to it, and further argued that the defendant be remanded in prison custody because EFCC detention facility was congested.

Consequently, Justice Oweibo adjourned the case to August 15, 2019 for determination of the bail application and ordered that the defendant be remanded in EFCC custody.

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