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EFCC declares Babalakin wanted

By The Citizen
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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday declared the Chairman, Bi-Courtney Highway Services, Wale Babalakin, wanted over the N4.7bn money laundering charges instituted against him at a Lagos High Court, Ikeja.

Babalakin's sudden disappearance, as alleged by the EFCC in a statement on Wednesday, might have bungled his scheduled arraignment on Thursday (today), which had earlier been stalled in two previous occasions by his absence from court.

A statement by the commission's Acting Head, Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, alleged that Babalakin 'has gone underground' as the businessman was said to have failed to report at the commission's office in preparatory for his arraignment along with others today (Thursday).

Uwujaren stated, 'The businessman, who was supposed to report to the commission today preparatory to his arraignment on 27 counts criminal charge before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of the Lagos High Court tomorrow, January 17, 2013 failed to do so, and has gone underground. Babalakin is dark-complexioned and speaks English and Yoruba fluently.'

Responding to further enquiries by our correspondent via the telephone on Wednesday night, the EFCC spokesman said, 'if we have not made efforts to contact him or fish him out, we would not have issued a statement declaring him wanted'.

However, Babalakin, who spoke through one of his aides, Dipo Kehinde, on Wednesday, denied fleeing from trial, saying he had earlier had an understanding with the EFCC at 5pm not to report to its office until Thursday morning.

According to him, instead of reporting at the office on Wednesday, he had been told by the commission to present himself at it's office on Thursday morning before proceeding to court.