The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission opened its case on Tuesday against Abdullahi Babalele, son-in-law of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who was accused of laundering $140,000 in the build-up to the 2019 general elections.
The trial began before Justice C.J. Aneke at the Federal High Court in Lagos with the testimony of Bashir Mohammed, who described himself as a close friend of Babalele.
Mohammed, who was led in evidence by the EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, narrated to the court how he delivered naira equivalent of $140,000 cash to former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Babalele’s instructions.
Obasanjo endorsed Atiku, who was the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, ahead of this year’s general elections.
But Atiku lost the election to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress.
Mohammed said he got a phone call from Babalele sometime in February, requesting him to deliver a message to “an elder statesman”.
He said on Babalele’s request he supplied two bank accounts, which were credited.
The witness said he took the money to Obasanjo’s residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
“When I got there, somebody came and took me inside where I met former President Obasanjo and delivered the message,” Mohammed said.
Under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), Mohammed affirmed that he wrote a statement at the EFCC office during an investigation.
Ozekhome’s bid to tender the statement as an exhibit was, however, opposed by the prosecutor.
Justice Aneke adjourned until Wednesday to rule on the admissibility of the statement.