Court grants Atiku’s son-in-law, permission to travel abroad for Medical treatment

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court, Lagos, today, permitted Abdullahi Babalele, the son-in-law to the former Nigeria Vice President, Mr. Abubakar Atiku, to travel to the United State of America (USA) for medical treatment.

Justice Aneke however ordered that Babalele must returned his travel passport to the court’s Registrar, by November 11, when his trial over alleged money laundering will commenced.

Justice Aneke granted Babalele permission to travel to America for treatment of an ailment described as ‘life threaten’ by his lawyer, Mr. Mike Ozekhome (SAN) who filed and argued  application, in a ruling delivered today.

Babalele is standing trial before the court on charges bordering on two counts charge of money laundering.

He is being arraigned before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the said offences.

He was first arraigned before Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the same court, on August 14, during the court’s annual vacation.

His plea was retaken before Justice Aneke’s court, on Tuesday, where the matter was reassigned to and still maintained his innocence on the charges.

The charge against in charge number FHC/L/284c/19, reads: “that you Abdullahi Babalele on or about the 20th day of February, 2019, in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, procured Bashir Mohammed to make cash payment of the sum of $140,000. 00 (One Hundred and Forty Thousand 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. 

While the count two reads: “that you Abdullahi Babalele on or about the 20th day of February, 2019 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, aided Bashir Mohammed to make cash payment of the sum of $140,000. 00 (One Hundred and Forty Thousand 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) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act. 

The offences he had pleaded not guilty to and admitted to bail in various terms. During his rearrangement and after his plea of not guilty was taken, Justices Aneke

After his plea was retaken, his lawyer, Mr. Ozekhome (SAN), urged the court to hear his client’s pending application for bail variation, saying that granting the application will enable his client to travel abroad for medical treatment of a life threatened sickness.

The request which was acceded to by the presiding judge.

In moving the application for bail variation, Ozekhome (SAN) told the court that the application dated and filed on September 3, was supported with 15 paragraphs affidavit deposed to by one Ubong Ukong.

He also informed the court that the application has four annexures were marked as Ab1, Ab2, Ab3 and Ab4, which were medical reports from Samiya Hospital, National hospital, all in Abuja and from one Michael Warren, from a London hospital.

Ozekhome (SAN) also told the court that all the annetures points to great danger if the man did not go for medical. Adding that his client’s case is ‘life threatened’ and that the extent also contained in many diagnosis done by his client.

He urged the court to grant the application and release his client’s passport to enable him travel abroad to medical treatment.

Opposing the application, EFCC lawyer, Oyedepo, had urged the court to discountenance Babalele’s application as there was nothing  before the court to visibly accede the request.

He said there was no any invitation, as the one purportedly issued by Michael Warren was dated September 12, 2019, which he said had passed and “there is no appointment to be kept”.

He also told the court that all the annexures tendered by the defendant did not suggest that want diagnosed on defendant cannot be treated in any Nigeria hospitals.

He stated that non of the annexures states that the defendant has history of trauma, diabetic, hypertension, asthma and distress. 

He therefore urged the court to refuse the application and order for accelerating hearing of the charge.

Upon listened to the to parties, Justice Aneke, adjourned the matter till today, for ruling on the application.

Meanwhile, the trial of Alhaji Atiku’s lawyer, Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie, a partner in the law of Africa Law Practice, who was also arraigned on charges bordering on conspiracy and money laundering to the tune of $2 million USD, has been fixed for Tuesday, October 15, before Justice Chuka Obiozor.

Uyiekpen was arraigned during the court’s long vacation before Justice Nicholas Oweibo, alongside his younger brother, Erhunse on two counts charges

The offences they have both pleaded not equally admitted to bail in various terms.

The charges against the Osagie’s brothers in charge number FHC/L/283c/19, reads:  “that you Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie and Erhunse Giwa-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 two: “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  Giwa-Osagie 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 Giwa-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”.

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