The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday failed in its efforts to stop Atiku Abubakar’s son-in-law, Abdullahi Babalele, from embarking on a medical trip abroad.
The anti-graft agency is prosecuting Babalele for allegedly laundering $140,000 in the build-up to the last general elections.
The commission had asked the court not to grant Babalele’s prayer to travel abroad for medical reasons. When the matter came up in court on Tuesday, the EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, had claimed that Babalele’s medical reports showed “no issue of trauma, diabetes, high blood pressure or otherwise.”
However, at the resumption of the matter on Friday before a Federal High Court in Lagos, the presiding judge, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke granted Babalele’s prayer, but ordered that he should be allowed to travel for medicals for 31 days.
The judge directed the court registrar to release Atiku’s son-in-law’s passport to him to enable him undertake the trip.
According to Justice Aneke, the defendant’s October 8, 2019 application, which was opposed by the EFCC, was meritorious.
He added that the defendant had shown that “he has health issues with the evidence before the court….Only the living can stand trial.”
The judge ordered Babalele to return the passport on November 11, 2019 and adjourned till November 11, 12 and 13 for the commencement of trial.
The EFCC had on August August 14, 2019, dragged Babalele before Justice Nicholas Oweibo over his alleged money laundering offence.
The case was later re-assigned and transferred to Justice Aneke and Babalele was re-arraigned before the new judge last Tuesday.
He pleaded not guilty when the court read out his alleged offence to him.
Afterwards, Babalele’s counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN, persuaded the court to permit Babalele leave to continue on the N20 million bail with one surety earlier granted him in August by Justice Oweibo, which the court honoured.