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Judge withdraws from Babalakin money laundering case

30 June 2015, 20:04

Lagos - Justice John Tsoho, who has been presiding over the trial of a suspected accomplice of convicted former Delta State governor, James Onanefe Ibori, has withdrawn from the trial after the suspect questioned his fitness to preside. 

Tsoho of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos State has excused himself  from the trial of the Chairman of Bi- Courtney Highways Services, Wale Babalakin, after the beleaguered businessman petitioned the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court expressing fears that his fundamental human rights may not be protected² during the trial.

Babalakin wrote the letter through his counsel,  Abiodun Layonu.

He is consequently seeking the reassignment of the case to another judge.

Also read: N4.7bn fraud: Babalakin to know his fate in June

While delivering his ruling on the said letter, the Judge said he had no option than to hands off the case, following the content of the petition.

Sequel to the letter written by the applicant to the Chief Judge,which I have been copied, I have gone through the petition and have seen everything in it, I therefore disqualify myself and hands off this case, Tsoho said.

Babalakin and his counsel hinged their letter seeking reassignment of the case to another judge, on the earlier dismissal of the motion on notice, which restrained the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from further prosecuting the applicant, which Justice Tsoho vacated earlier in June.

According to their letter, vacating the order, infringes on the fundamental human rights of the applicant, which they believe the judge cannot protect.

Tsoho had on June 15, 2015, vacated the restraining order against the EFCC, which he said had outlived its life span.

EFCC is prosecuting for allegedly assisting Ibori to launder vast sums of money through various parties to Erin Aviation account in Mauritius for the purchase of an airplane. ­

- CAJ News


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