The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday opened its case against the son-in-law of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, Abdullahi Babalele.
Babalele is alleged to have laundered $140,000 in the build-up to the 2019 general elections.
At the proceedings before Justice C.J. Aneke of the Federal High Court, Lagos, the first prosecution witness, one Bashir Mohammed, who said he was a close friend of Babalele, recounted how he took the naira equivalent of $140, 000 to former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the instructions of Babalele.
Mohammed, was led in evidence by the EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo.
According to him, he received a phone call from Babalele sometime in February, requesting him to deliver a message to “an elder statesman”.
He said Babalele asked him to supply two bank accounts, which were credited.
Thereafter, he said he took the money to Obasanjo’s residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
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According to Mohammed, “When I got to the gate, somebody came and took me inside where I met former President Olusegun Obasanjo and delivered the message.
“I called the defendant in the presence of former President Obasanjo and informed him that I had delivered the message. He said that was good and thanked me.”
During cross-examination by the defence counsel, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, Mohammed admitted that he wrote a statement at the EFCC office during investigation.
Ozekhome sought to tender the statement as an exhibit but it was opposed by the prosecutor.
Justice Aneke adjourned till Wednesday to rule on the admissibility of the statement.
Babalele was arraigned by the anti-graft agency on two counts of money laundering in August.
He was accused of “procuring Bashir Mohammed to make a cash payment of $140,000 without going through any financial institution”.
The EFCC said Babalele made the transaction on February 20, 2019 contrary to Section 18 © of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 and was liable to be punished under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.
Babalele pleaded not guilty to the charges.