Adamu Yusuf, an investigator with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Wednesday, told the a Federal High Court, Lagos, how Abdullahi Babalele, a son-in-law to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President, gave the sum of $140,000.00 USD, to former President Olusegun Obasanjo through one Bashir Mohammed to influence the outcome of the 2019 General Election.
The son-in-law to the former Vice President, Babalele, is standing trial before the court on a two-count charge of money laundering to the tune of $140, 000 USD.
He was alleged to have commit the offence on February 20, 2019. Though, he had denied the allegation.
At the resumed hearing of the charge on Wednesday, the witness, an investigator with the EFCC, told the court that his team investigated the matter based on intelligence received to the effect that some politicians were in possession of foreign currencies from questionable sources and looking for Bureau De Change Operators (BDC) to convert same into Naira so as to influence the outcome of the 2019 General Elections.
Yusuf, while being led in evidence by the prosecutor, U. U. Buhari, told the court that in the course of investigation, the team received information that one Bashir Mohammed, the first prosecution witness, PW1, collected the cash sum of $140, 000, USD, from a BDC Operator.
Yusuf said: “Bashir was invited; and upon interviewing him, he revealed that Babalele sent him money in Naira through his company accounts domiciled in Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) and United Bank for Africa (UBA).
“Bashir also stated that he was instructed to convert the money into Dollars and take same to the Olusegun Obasanjo Library in Abeokuta, Ogun State. He also claimed to have handed it to former President Olusegun Obasanjo”.
The witness further told the court that the defendant received over N53 million, in his account on February 20, 2019 from one Jamiu Amusa in four tranches.
To support his evidence, the witness tendered Babalele’s account opening document, statement of account and confessional statements, which were admitted in evidence by the court.
Justice Aneke adjourned the matter to December 7, 2020 for continuation of trial.
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 (One Hundred and Forty Thousand United States Dollars) 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”.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against him.