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EFCC raises objection on Babalakin's move to quash fraud charges

By The Citizen
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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has raised objection to the move by the Chairman of Bi-Courtney Limited, Wale Babalakin, to quash the allegation of N4.7bn fraud leveled against him.

Babalakin, Alex Okoh and their companies are standing trial for allegedly aiding a former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, to siphon public funds while the former held sway as governor.

The accused, when arraigned on 27 counts in relation to the crime, had pleaded not guilty.

They had also filed preliminary objections to the charges, praying the court to dismiss same for want of competence.

One of their lawyers, Dr. Tunde Layonu (SAN), had argued that the joint prosecution of Babalakin and the four other defendants by the EFCC and the Attorney-General of the Federation was an aberration in criminal justice.

But at the resumed trial before Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo on Monday, the EFCC counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), brought before the court a counter-affidavit in opposition to the defendants' submission.

Jacobs argued that the issue of joint prosecution did not arise as the EFCC could not be separated from the AGF. According to him, the commission is operating under the supervision of the AGF.

He maintained that the signature of one Yusuf, who signed the charge on behalf of the EFCC, had also covered for the office of the AGF.

According to Jacobs, Yusuf signed the charge as an officer of both the EFCC and the AGF.

Jacobs further submitted that both the EFCC and the AGF had the legal backing to prosecute criminal offences under state laws, adding that they did not even require a fiat from the state's attorneys-general to do so.