The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has released from its custody Abdullahi Babalele, the son-in-law of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in 2019, Atiku Abubakar.
Babalele, who was remanded by a Federal High Court, Lagos, over alleged money laundering, was freed on Friday after he met the N20million bail term imposed by the judge, Mr Nicholas Oweibo, and has since returned to Abuja.
Oweibo granted him bail after he pleaded not guilty to a two-count charge of money laundering levelled against him by the anti-graft agency.
However, Atiku’s lawyer, Mr Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie, a partner in the law firm of Africa Law Practice (ALP) and his brother, Erhunse Giwa-Osagie, who were also arraigned by the EFCC on a different money laundering charge, are yet to meet their bail terms.
Following their arraingments and not guilty plea to the three-count charge last Wednesday, the judge, in his ruling last Thursday, placed both defendants in the custody of their counsel.
The EFCC alleged that Babalele laundered $140,000 with the aide of one Bashir Mohammed.
While Giwa-Osagie and his brother, Erhunse were accused of laundering $2 million.
The offences according to the prosecution contravened Sections 18(c), 18(a), 1(a), 16(1), (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and were punishable under Section 16, 16(2)(b)16(2)(b) of the same Act.
They were however, granted bail in the the sum of N20 million with one surety each, after their counsel, who include Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) for Babalele and Mr. Raji Ahmed and Mr. Norrison Quakers, both SANs, for the Osagies, argued their clients’ bail applications.
In the charge against Babalele, the EFCC alleged that Atiku’s son-in-law, on February 20, 2019, procured and aided one Bashir Mohammed to make cash payment of $140,000 USD, without going through a financial institution.
The EFCC alleged that the Osagie brothers on February 12, 2019, aided each other and made cash payment of $2 million, without going through a financial institutions.
Justice Oweibo adjourned the trio’s trial till October 8.