Posted by News Express | 17 January 2013 | 3,191 times
True to his promise, Chairman of Bi-Courtney Highway Services Limited, Dr. Wale Babalakin (SAN), showed up in court today, thus discrediting claims by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that he had gone underground ahead of his scheduled arraignment in connection with criminal conspiracy and money laundering of N4.7 billion on behalf of convicted former Delta State governor, Chief James Ibori.
As reported this morning y News Express, had rubbished EFCC’s claims last night, he had not escaped to anywhere but was very much around and ready to meet the anti-graft agency in court.
“I have been in regular touch with the EFCC and have reported to the commission every other day,” he had said. “Even Mr. Ilyasu Kwabai, an operative of the commission, called me at 5:30 p.m. today (Wednesday), instructing that I should be in court tomorrow (Thursday). So there is no basis for declaring me wanted because I have consistently complied with the administrative bail terms and I will be in court tomorrow (Thursday) at 8:00 a.m.”
Just as he promised, Babalakin was there live before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of the Lagos High Court. He pleaded not guilty to all 27 the charges read to him. Thereafter, his lawyer moved an application that he be admitted on bail on grounds of self-recognisance. The EFCC Counsel had no objection but asked the court to give such conditions that would ensure Babalakin’s continued appearance in court for trial
Consequently, Justice Onigbanjo admitted Babalakin to bail on self-recognition but with a condition – he must deposit his passport with the EFCC who must not release it without express permission of the court.
Babalakin was arraigned alongside Alex Okoh, Stabilini Visioni Limited, Bi-Courtney Limited and Renix Nigeria Limited.
•Photo, courtesy Channels TV, shows Babalakin, surrounded by his lawyers, taking the plea.
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