A prosecution witness in the on going trial of Abdullahi Babalele, a son-in-law of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar yesterday told a Federal High Court in Lagos that the defendant asked him to gave former President Olusegun Obasanjo the naira equivalent of $140,000.
The witness, Bashir Mohammed, who claimed to be a “close friend” of the defendant, also the court that he personally delivered the money to Obasanjo in his house in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Babalele before Justice Chukwujekwu for allegedly laundering $140,000 in the build-up to the 2019 general elections.
The anti-graft agency arraigned the defendant on two counts of money laundering in August.
The Commission alleged that Babalele procured Mohammed “to make cash payment of $140,000 without going through any financial institution.
The EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, claimed that the money exceeded the threshold stipulated by the money laundering Act.
Oyedepo also insisted that the alleged February 20, 2019 transaction contravened Sections 18 (c) and (2)(b)of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011.
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Babalele, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge and he was subsequently grant bail by the court.
At the resumed hearing of the matter on Tuesday, the EFCC opened by calling Mohammed as its first witness, who narrated how he allegedly delivered the money to the former president at his Abeokuta, Ogun State home.
Mohammed, who was led in evidence by Oyedepo testified that he got a phone call from Babalele sometime in February, requesting him to deliver a message to “an elder statesman.”
The witness claimed that on Babalele’s request he supplied two bank accounts, which were credited.
He testified that took the money to Obasanjo’s residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Mohammed claimed, “when I got to the gate, somebody came and took me inside where I met former President Olusegun Obasanjo and delivered the message.
“I called the defendant in the presence of former President Obasanjo and informed him that I had delivered the message. He said that was good and thanked me.”
Under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), Mohammed affirmed that he wrote a statement at the EFCC office during investigation.
Ozekhome’s bid to tender the statement as an exhibit was, however, opposed to by the Oyedepo.
The development made Justice Aneke to adjourned the matter till Wednesday for ruling on the admissibility of the statement.
It will be recalled that former President Obasanjo endorsed Atiku, who was the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), ahead of the presidential election.
But Atiku lost the election to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC).