Updated: Babalakin, Bi-Courtney boss, fails to appear in court due to “sudden illness”

Wale Babalakin, [Photo: punchng.com]

EFCC alleges that Mr. Babalakin assisted James Ibori, former governor of Delta State launder several billions of Naira

Embattled billionaire and Chief Executive Officer of Bi-Courtney Construction Company, Wale Babalakin, Thursday, failed to appear in court over his role in a N4.7 billion money laundering allegation.

Ebun Sofunde, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and counsel to Mr. Babalakin, told the judge that his client had been admitted to a hospital due to “stress.”

“I have been further informed that sometimes last night, because his condition deteriorated, he was taken to LUTH (Lagos University Teaching Hospital) where he is presently on admission,” said Mr. Sofunde, while presenting a medical report signed by one Charles Hammond and dated November 26.

Mr. Sofunde requested for a “short adjournment” to enable Mr. Babalakin recover from his ailment.

‘BABALAKIN’S TACTICS’

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, described Mr. Babalakin’s purported illness as “a tactic to frustrate his arraignment.”

Counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, said that Mr. Babalakin was in the commission’s Abuja office last Monday, the same day his lawyer claimed he was hospitalised.

PREMIUM TIMES had exclusively reported the Monday interrogation.

“It took the EFCC close to a week to get him. He was served with all the processes and released because he took an undertaken that he will appear in court for his arraignment,” Mr. Jacobs, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said.

“We believe if there is a medical issue that he should have contacted us yesterday (Wednesday) rather than to confront us with this application this morning.

“We are disappointed by the tactics of the first defendant,” Mr. Jacobs added.

While Mr. Babalakin failed to turn up, his co-accused, Alex Okoh was in court, although the judge did not take his plea.

Adeniyi Onigbanjo, the trial judge, ordered the EFCC to verify Mr. Babalakin’s ill health claims and adjourned till December 12.

“It is an easily verifiable fact that he is currently on admission at LUTH,” Mr. Onigbanjo added.

A heavily anticipated case that had the court room stretched to capacity, the EFCC is accusing Mr. Babalakin of using his company, Bi-Courtney Construction Company, to launder several billions of naira for James Ibori, convicted former governor of Delta State.

The billions, which were wired via Mauritius, according to the anti graft agency, also involved Mr. Okoh, Renix Nigeria Limited, and Stabilini Vision Limited.


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