By Innocent Anaba
LAGOS—A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, granted bail to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s son-in-law, Abdullahi Babalele; Mr. Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie, who is said to be Atiku’s lawyer and his brother, Erhunse Giwa-Osagie, in the sum of N20 million, with one surety each.
They were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, before the court on Wednesday on two separate charges of money laundering.
While Babalele was arraigned on a two-count charge of laundering $140,000, the Osagie brothers were arraigned on a three-count charge of laundering $2 million.
At the resumed hearing of the motion for bail, yesterday, counsel to Babalele, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, urged the court to admit his client to bail in the most liberal terms, after citing several authorities to support his submission.
Similarly, lawyers to the Osagie brothers, Ahmed Raji and Norrison Quakers, both SANs, pleaded with the court to admit their clients to bail on self-recognition, saying that the first defendant, Giwa-Osagie, is a senior member of the Bar.
EFCC counsel, Usman Buhari, however, urged the court to discountenance the defendants’ applications, on the likelihood of not turning up for their trial.
In his separate rulings, trial judge, Justice Nicholas Oweibo said the prosecutor failed to counter the deposition in the defendants’ affidavits and consequently admitted them to bail in the sum of N20 million with one surety each.
The surety, according to Justice Oweibo, must be resident within the court’s jurisdiction and landed property owners.
The court ordered that Atiku’s son-in-law is to be remanded in custody of the EFCC pending the perfection of his bail conditions, while the Osagie brothers should be in the custody of their counsel for 14 days to fulfil the bail conditions.
The case was adjourned till October 8, for trial.
In the charge against Babalele, the EFCC alleged that he had on February 20, 2019, procured and aided one Bashir Mohammed to make a cash payment of the sum of $140,000, without going through a financial institution.
The anti-graft agency also alleged that Osagie brothers were also alleged to have on February 12, 2019, aided each other and made a cash payment of $2 million, without going through the financial institutions.