Exclusive: Babalakin, Bi-Courtney boss, to be arraigned in court Thursday

Wale Babalakin, [Photo: punchng.com]

The Bi-Courtney boss was questioned for several hours by the EFCC.

The embattled billionaire lawyer and Chief Executive Officer of Bi-Courtney, Olawale Babalakin, is set to appear before a Lagos court on Thursday over charges that he helped James Ibori, convicted former governor of Delta State, launder N2 billion.

Mr. Babalakin was also questioned for several hours on Monday by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja over his involvement in the scam.

PREMIUM TIMES had revealed how the commission filed a 27-count charge against Mr. Babalakin at a Lagos High Court. The embattled billionaire is now expected to appear at the court on Thursday.

Mr. Babalakin’s company, Bi-Courtney was recently relieved of the multi-billion naira Lagos-Ibadan Expressway by the Federal Government. Another of his company is on the verge of losing another N4 billion road contract in Akure, the Ondo State capital, according to the state’s commissioner for works.

In its court papers, the EFCC said that Mr. Babalakin and his associates, including Bi-Courtney construction group, Stabilini, Renix Nigeria Limited, and a certain Alex Okoh, facilitated the fund transfers to Mauritius under the pretext of funds for a construction contract for the state.

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Between May and December of 2006, the EFCC said, more than 24 transfers were made to the company, Erin Aviation, for the supply of a Challenger Jet Aircraft.

The first transfer occurred on May 3 and involved the sum of N145.5 million while the final transfer involved $2 million on November 17, 2006, the commission stated.

The London Metropolitan Police, which successfully investigated Mr. Ibori leading to his conviction, also assisted with the investigations, with at least three visits to Nigeria by its officials since Mr. Babalakin’s suspicious involvement in the scam began, sources at the commission said.

However, this new charges against Mr. Babalakin, the Pro-Chancellor of the University of Maiduguri, would signal what promises to be a long and protracted legal battle.

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