Oladimeji Ramon

The Federal High Court in Lagos, on Thursday, granted bail in the sum of N20m with one surety to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s son-in-law, Abdullahi Babalele, who was arraigned for allegedly laundering $140,000 in the build-up to the 2019 general elections.

Similarly, Atiku’s lawyer, Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie, and his brother, Erhunse Giwa-Osagie, who were separately arraigned for allegedly laundering $2m in connection with the elections, also got N20m bail with one surety in like sum each.

In separate rulings on Thursday, Justice Nicholas Oweibo ordered the defendants to deposit their passports in the court’s custody.

The judge said the sureties must own landed property in Lagos.

While Babalele was remanded in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission pending the fulfillment of his bail conditions, the Giwa-Osagie brothers were released to their lawyer, Mr Ahmed Raji (SAN).

Justice Oweibo said the Giwa-Osagie brothers must perfect their bails within 14 days, failing which they would be sent to prison.

The defendants were arraigned on Wednesday on separate charges before Justice Oweibo .

The EFCC accused Babalele of “procuring Bashir Mohammed to make a cash payment of $140,000 without going through any financial institution.”

The prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, said the money exceeded the threshold stipulated by the money laundering law.

He said Babalele made the transaction on February 20, 2019 in contravention of Section 18 (c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 and was liable to be punished under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.

But Babalele pleaded not guilty to the two counts pressed against him.

In their joint arraignment, the EFCC accused the Giwa-Osagie brothers of conspiring between each other to make a cash payment of $2m without going through a financial institution.

The anti-graft agency said the transaction violated the provisions of Sections 18(a) and 1(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011, adding that the defendants were liable to be punished under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act. But they also pleaded not guilty to the two counts filed against them.

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