A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, on Monday discharged the son-in-law to former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, Abdullahi Babalele of a two-count charge of allegedly laundering $140,000.
Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke upheld the defendant’s No-Case submission and struck out the charge filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the ground of wrong venue.
Justice Aneke held that the charge ought not to have been filed in Lagos when the alleged offence was said to have been committed in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
Justice Aneke relied on the Supreme Court’s decision in a case between the EFCC and Mohammed Dele Belgore on territorial jurisdiction.
Mr Babalele was arraigned in 2018 and then re-arraigned on October 8, 2019.
The EFCC accused him of giving former President Olusegun Obasanjo $140,000 on the instruction of the former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, who was vying for the office of president in 2019.
The defendant pleaded not guilty on both occasions.
Trial commenced and the prosecution called two witnesses and tendered several documents that were admitted in evidence, before closing its case against the defendant on November 25, 2020.
At the last hearing on December 7, defence counsel, Mike Ozekhome SAN, filed a no-case submission praying the court to dismiss the charge.