Alleged N4.7 billion fraud: Babalakin’s trial stalled

Wale Babalakin

The EFCC counsel sustained an injury.

An ankle injury sustained by the lawyer representing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday forced a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja to adjourn the trial of embattled billionaire lawyer, Wale Babalakin, till March 14.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Rotimi Jacobs, told the court he sprained his ankle in an accident last week.

“I am unable to undertake the business of the day due to the unfortunate incident. I humbly request for an adjournment,” said Mr. Rotimi, who limped into the court room.

In granting the prosecution’s request, Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo said that he was “bending over backwards” to schedule the next date on a Friday.

“I only use Fridays for trials and judgment,” the judge added.

Mr. Babalakin, Alex Okoh, and their companies, Stabilini Visioni Ltd., Bi-Courtney Ltd. and Renix Nigeria Ltd, are facing a N4.7 billion money laundering suit instituted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The defendants had been arraigned in January 2013; but a plethora of applications filed by the defence had delayed the beginning of trial.

In addition to challenging the competency of the 27-count charges against him, Mr. Babalakin is also contesting the jurisdiction of the court.

The judge had adjourned, at the last date, till Monday for hearing on the several applications.

Mr. Lawal-Akapo had said that despite the court adjourning the matter since over a month ago, prior to January 20, the processes filed by the defence counsels did not reach him early.

“Apart from (Roland) Otaru (counsel to the third defendant), all the other applications were brought to my attention about 20 minutes ago,” the judge had said.

“In a matter of this nature, it is always good to study the processes and ask pertinent questions as the matter goes along.

“What I will suggest is that counsels sit and identify all these processes and their facts. To be sure that all the processes are filed,” Mr. Lawal-Akapo had added.


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