Again, EFCC arrests Atiku’s lawyer, son-in-law

Uyi Giwa Osagie [PHOTO CREDIT: The Guardian Nigeria]
Uyi Giwa Osagie [PHOTO CREDIT: The Guardian Nigeria]

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)has arrested two persons close to Nigerian opposition leader, Atiku Abubakar.

Uyi Giwa Osagie, a longtime legal adviser to Mr Abuakar, and Abdullahi Babalele, the former vice-president’s son in-law, were taken into custody on Thursday evening, according to multiple sources familiar with the development.

They were arrested after honouring an EFCC invitation in Lagos, sources said.

A spokesperson for the EFCC, Tony Orilade, told PREMIUM TIMES he needed additional time to give official comments about the arrest.

But PREMIUM TIMES learnt the commission was set to arraign Mr Giwa-Osagie for alleged money laundering.

PREMIUM TIMES learnt the charges against Mr Giwa-Osagie are as follows:

COUNT 1

That you UYIEKPEN GlWA-OSAGIE and ERHUNSE GlWA-OSAGIE, sometimes in February, 2019 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired to commit an offence to wit: making cash payment of the sum of $2,000,000.00 (Two Million United State Dollars) without going through financial institution which sum exceeded the amount authorized by Law and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a), and 1(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.

COUNT 2

That you UYIEKPEN GIWA-OSAGIE on or before the 12th day of February,2019 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, procured ERHUNSE GIWAOSAGIE to make cash payment of the sum of $2,000,000.00 (Two Million United State Dollars) without going through financial institution, which sum exceeded the amount authorized by Law and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.

COUNT 3

That you ERHUNSE GlWA-OSAGIE sometimes in February, 2019 In Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court made the payment of the sum of $2,000,000.00 (Two Million United State Dollars) without going through financial institution, which sum exceeded the amount authorized by Law and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Sections 1(a). & 16(1).(d) of the Money Laundering(Prohibition) Act, 2011 (As Amended) and Punishable under section 16 of the Same Act.

It came about five months after Messrs Babalele and Giwa-Osagie were detained for several days while being questioned in a multi-million dollar money laundering probe.

He was reportedly arrested after a bureau de change operative allegedly identified him as the owner of $2 million found in its possession. The commission alleged the money was to be used for the 2019 elections.

The duo denied the allegations, and critics saw the probe as politically-motivated, especially as it came during the hotly-contested presidential election.

Mr Abubakar had also condemned the investigation as an attempt to intimidate him at the time. But the anti-graft office rejected insinuations of political influence over its activities.

A source familiar with the investigation told PREMIUM TIMES today’s development might be a continuation of the earlier probe, although this had not been officially confirmed by EFCC sources.

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