Sunday, 19 May 2013
PHOTONEWS: Finally, Wale Babalakin Shows Up In Court With His Prayer Warriors
Evasive boss of Bi-Courtney Company, Mr. Olawale Babalakin has finally showed up in court today for a long-filed arraignment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC].
Declared wanted by the EFCC yesterday for failing to honor an appointment for his preparatory arraignment billed for court today, Babalakin denied EFCC’s declaration of him ‘wanted’ as a figment and machination of the anti-graft agency. The wanted businessman appeared in court flanked by his prayer warriors, some in mufti wears and others in celestial garments.
Soon after the court began proceeding, his counsel began applying for bail, stating grounds of the defendant’s status and applying for his bail on the basis of self-recognition. Also, immediately, his hired prayer mongers commenced muttering prayer points for the granting of his freedom as he pleaded ‘not guilty’ to all twenty-one count charges filed against him.
Presiding judge, Mr. Adeniyi Onigbanjo granted his bail on the ground of his self-recognition. However, as a precaution to prevent his jumping bail, court ordered the seizure of his international passport with the EFCC. His counsel, Olawale Akoni, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, assured the court that his client will be available any time requested by the court. Counsel to the second defendant, Mr. Alex Okoh, Tayo Oyetibo [SAN] also took same ground to apply for his client, bail grant. Mr. Okoh was also granted bail on the similar ground of self-recognition. He already had his travel passport deposited with the EFCC.
Application to quash the charge by the defense counsels were dismissed by the court. However, in a desperate measure to save Babalakin and his co-defendant from complicity, counsels to the defendants have also filed affidavits challenging the competencies of the charges, which became subject of another consideration. Justice Onigbanjo adjourned matter to 25th February 2013.
Mr. Babalakin had been playing tricks to avoid arraignment. Some of his tricks included using his associates to stand for administrative bail, failing to appear in court in the pretext of sickness while applying for court order to stop the EFCC from prosecuting him and feigning sickness at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission accused Mr. Babalakin of Criminal Conspiracy and Money Laundering to the tune of N4.7billion. Babalakin was said to have laundered money on behalf of UK jailed former Governor of Delta State, James Onafefe Ibori. He also took money in a fraudulent deal to acquire a bombardier jet for the jailed former Delta State Governor.