Ibori: Babalakin’s firms ask court to quash N4.7 fraud charge

Wale BabalakinTwo companies owned by Wale Babalakin (SAN) – Stabilini Visioni Ltd and Bi-Courtney Ltd – on Monday asked an Ikeja High Court to quash the N4.7 billion fraud charge preferred against them.

This is contained in separate preliminary notices of objection filed by the counsel to the companies before Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo.

They argued that the charge was defective, unconstitutional and an abuse of court process.

Babalakin and the companies are standing trial for allegedly transferring N4.7 billion on behalf of convicted former Delta State Governor, James Ibori.

They are being prosecuted alongside Alex Okoh and his company, Renix Nigeria Ltd by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The accused are facing a 27-count charge bordering on conspiracy, retention of proceeds of a criminal conduct and corruptly conferring benefit on account of public action.

Arguing the motion, Bi-Courtney’s counsel, Mr Wale Akoni (SAN), told the court that the essential ingredient of the offence was not made known to the defendants in the charge.

Akoni noted that the foundation of the charge was based on the alleged criminal conduct of Ibori.

According to him, the charge failed to provide any nexus between the defendants and the former governor.

“My Lord, our contention is that this information and the charges therein are defective in substance, invalid, incompetent and unconstitutional.

“We urge your lordship to strike out the charge in its entirety and discharge the defendants,” he said.

On his part, counsel to Stabilini Visioni Ltd., Chief Roland Otaru (SAN), also urged the court to quash the charge.

Otaru argued that the charge was defective because it was only signed by an officer of the EFCC with no representation from the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.

“I, therefore, submit that the author of this amended information is unknown and we urge the court to strike it out.”

Further hearing in the case was adjourned till Oct. 30.