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New twist to EFCC, Balakin legal tussle

12 May 2015, 10:02Okoro Chinedu

Lagos - Wale Balakin's legal troubles are set to mount with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) hinting it could file fresh charges against the beleaguered billionaire lawyer.

Balakin has approached a Federal High Court in Lagos for an ex-parte order to top the EFCC from arresting or prosecuting him for alleged corruption and money laundering.

He has been back in court to challenge his imminent arrest for an alleged N4,7 billion scam.

In the ex parte application before Justice Tsoho, Babalakin is asking the court for an order, "restraining EFCC and the Attorney General of the Federation from taking any steps to arraign or proceed with the arraignment or trial of the applicant on the same or similar charge or under the same or similar law or similar subject matter, which charge ID/239/C/2012 was instituted by the respondent and quashed by the High
Court of Lagos State pending the hearing and determination of the application."

When the application came up on Monday for consideration, EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, however noted that the prosecution was not served with the notice.

The court consequently adjourned to May 25 for arguments.

"Legal experts have said that the EFCC is on course to file fresh charges against Babalakin, since Justice Lawal-Akapo merely struck out the earlier charges against him on technical grounds," EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said.

Also read: Lagos Chief Judge steps into case after threat to life of magistrate

The case has taken a number of twists.

Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo of a Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, had on February 23 discharged Babalakin, who along with Alex Okoh, Stabilini Visioni Limited, Bi-Courtney Limited and Renix Nigeria Limited, the EFCC was prosecuting.

Instead of EFCC appealing the ruling, the EFCC had settled for fresh charges against Babalakin and his co-accused. The fresh information to prosecute Babalakin and others was filed at the Federal High Court, Lagos on April 21.

Babalakin is said to have gotten wind of the new development, thus prompting him to rush to the Federal High Court, on April 29 for a leave to grant him an order prohibiting the EFCC from arresting, detaining or arraigning him on the ground that the Lagos High Court had already exonerated him. 

- CAJ News

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