On Eve of His Arraignment For Alleged N4.7 Billion Fraud, EFCC Declares Wale Babalakin Wanted
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday said it has declared the Chairman of Bi-Courtney Highway Services Limited, Wale Babalakin wanted in connection with a case of Criminal Conspiracy and Money Laundering to the tune of N4.7billion.
According to a statement signed by Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC’s spokesperson, the businessman who was supposed to report to the Commission today preparatory to his arraignment on a 27 count criminal charge before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of the Lagos High Court tomorrow, January 17, 2013 failed to do so, and has gone underground.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, will on Thursday arraign the Chairman of Bi-Courtney Ltd., Wale Babalakin for an alleged N4.7 billion fraud.
Mr. Babalakin was charged before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of a Lagos High Court in Ikeja.
He was charged alongside Alex Okoh, Stabilini Visioni Ltd., Bi-Courtney Ltd. and Renix Nigeria Ltd. for fraudulently transferring N4.7 billion on behalf of convicted former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori.
Efforts to arraign the defendants were stalled on November 29, 2012 and December 12, 2012, after Mr. Babalakin’s counsel told the court that the first defendant was on admission at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH.
EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said on Wednesday that Mr. Babalakin has since been discharged from LUTH and was fit to take his plea.
“We have a court date tomorrow and it is for the arraignment of Babalakin and the other defendants”, Mr. Uwujaren said.
The EFCC had alleged that the defendants fraudulently assisted Mr. Ibori to transfer various sums, through various parties, to Erin Aviation account in Mauritius for the purchase of a Challenger Jet aircraft.
The defendants are facing a 27-count charge bordering on conspiracy, retention of proceeds of a criminal conduct and corruptly conferring benefit on account of public action.
EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, had alleged, when the case came up last, that Mr. Babalakin was trying to flee the country to evade arraignment.
The defendant’s counsel, Bolaji Ayorinde and Abiodun Layolu, countered the claim, describing it as “a wild allegation”.
The judge had adjourned the matter to January 17, for his possible arraignment.
Justice Ibrahim Buba of a Federal High Court in Lagos, had also on December 21, 2012, dismissed Mr. Babalakin’s suit against the EFCC, challenging his arraignment.