The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has granted Abdullahi Babalele leave to travel abroad for medical care.
Babalele who is a son-in-law to former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, was re-arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday on a two-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of $140,000.00.
He allegedly persuaded one Bashir Mohammed, a Bureau De Change( BDC) operator, to make a cash payment of the sum of $140,000 without going through any financial institution, an offence contrary to Section 18(c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Abdullahi Babalele, on or about the 20th day of February, 2019 in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, procured Basir Mohammed to make a cash payment of the sum of $140,000.00 without going through a financial institution, which sum exceeded the amount authorized by the Law and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(C) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.”
Counsel to the defendant, Mike Ozekhome, SAN on Tuesday informed the court about an application before it for the release of the international passport of the defendant.
Ozekhome told the court he had attached some medical reports showing that the defendant is ill and that “he will need to undergo treatment abroad.
“My Lord, the health issues are life-threatening,” he had said. He urged the court to grant the application and allow the defendant to travel abroad for three weeks.
In a ruling on Friday, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke granted the temporary release of the defendant’s passport to enable him to travel and take care of his health.
Justice Aneke held that the defendant had shown that “he has health issues with the evidence before the court.”
“Only the living can stand trial,” the Judge ruled.
The Judge, however, directed the defendant to return the passport to the court’s Registrar on November 11, 2019.
The case was adjourned till November 11,12 and 13 for the commencement of trial.