by Rachel Ogbu
The Chairman of Bi-Courtney Ltd., Wale Babalakin, was allowed to travel to South Africa for medical treatment after an Ikeja High Court on Wednesday, again granted him the permission to do so.
On February 28, Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo had granted Babalakin consent to travel abroad for his medical treatment.
Yesterday while presiding on another application filed by his counsel, Lateef Fagbemi, the judge instructed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to release his travelling documents but insisted that Babalakin, returned the international passport to the custody of EFCC when he returned before the date of his trial would be fixed.
Babalakin is currently on trial for allegedly transferring N4.7 billion on behalf of convicted former Delta State governor, James Ibori.
He was charged on January 17 with Alex Okoh and their companies, Stabilini Visioni Ltd., Bi-Courtney Ltd. and Renix Nigeria Ltd.
According to reports, both Babalakin and Okoh 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.
Meanwhile, Bi-Courtney Ltd., also on Wednesday, filed an application asking the court to quash the charges against all the defendants.
The firm’s counsel, Dr Joseph Nwobike (SAN), said Babalakin had filed an appeal against the judgement of a Federal High Court in Lagos, which dismissed his suit against the EFCC.
Nwobike said:” The prohibition suit was dismissed by Justice Okon Abang for the failure of the first defendant (Babalakin) to file an affidavit of compliance.
“There is already a notice of appeal against the judgement at the Court of Appeal.
“The EFCC has also filed a cross-appeal, which makes it impossible for them to continue the prosecution of this matter before this court.”
He said the legal effect of the success of the appeal would bring the proceedings before Onigbanjo to an end.
“The fourth defendant (Bi-Courtney) will be a beleaguered beneficiary, if the appeal succeeds,” Nwobike said.
EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), however, urged the court to dismiss the application because it was frivolous and an abuse of court process.
Jacobs said:” This is the most ridiculous application I have ever heard; the fourth defendant is not a party to the proceedings at the Court of Appeal.
“It is purely to waste the time of the court, because there is no relief at the appellate court that the charge should be dismissed.”
NAN reports that the judge, after listening to the submissions of both counsel, adjourned the matter to May 7 for ruling.