Don’t let EFCC prosecute me for corruption, Babalakin, Bi-Courtney boss, tells court

Wale Babalakin

Mr. Babalakin told a Lags Court he was sick and could not appear for trial.
On Thursday, while Wale Babalakin, the embattled Chief Executive Officer of Bi-Courtney Construction Company, was telling an Ikeja High Court that he was sick and could not face trial for graft, he was telling another Lagos Court to stop his trial.

The billionaire lawyer sought for leave to apply for a Certiorari and prohibition against his arraignment at a Federal High Court, Lagos, on Thursday. The court granted him the leave.

A Certiorari is an order from a higher court directing a lower court to send the record in a given case for review.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Attorney General of the Federation are joined as respondents in the suit filed by Mr. Babalakin’s counsel, Wale Akoni, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

The suit seeks to restrain the EFCC from taking further steps towards the Bi-Courtney’s boss’ arraignment pending the hearing of the motion for prohibition before the upper court.

The judge, Mohammed Idris, while granting the leave in his ruling, stated that it would mean a stay of proceedings before the High Court at Ikeja.

Mr. Babalakin was billed to be arraigned on a 27-count of money laundering charges before Adeniyi Onigbanjo of the Ikeja High Court, on Thursday.

The defendant, however, failed to appear in court due to a “sudden illness.”

“I have gone through the application before this honorable court, and I would confine myself to the affidavit and statement,” said Mr. Idris.

“At this stage, the court should be satisfied that the applicant has a locus standi, and that a prima facie case exist before the court.

“The fact that the applicant has a locus standi, and that a prima facie case exist, is clear, but I will not dabble into the merit of the substantive suit,” Mr. Idris added.

Mr. Babalakin had also sought for an order restraining the EFCC from taking further steps in his arraignment.

Although the judge held that Mr. Babalakin’s applications are not frivolous, he refused the second charge.

Mr. Idris adjourned till December 12, the same day Mr. Babalakin is billed to be arraigned at the Ikeja High Court.

In his argument, Mr. Akoni said that his client was not asking the court to challenge the jurisdiction of the Ikeja High Court or to review the EFCC Act; but to determine the legality of the charges against him.

“The authority to bring a charge at the high court of a state is that of the Attorney General of that state, whose fiat must be clearly exhibited on the face of the charge,” Mr. Akoni said.

“There is nothing on the face of the charge to show that the Attorney General of Lagos is part of, or has authorized by fiat, the preferring of this charge.

“The Attorney General of the Federation and the EFCC have no power to prefer a charge in Lagos State; there must be a clear demonstration of the fiat of the Attorney General of Lagos State on the charge,” Mr. Akoni added.

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