Exclusive! EFCC Confiscates Wale Babalakin’s Travel Documents Over N1.6 Billion Ibori Loot…Detained For More Interrogation
Barring last minute change of mind due to mounting pressures, Nigeria’s anti graft police, EFCC will arraign multi-billionaire businessman, Wale Babalakin before a federal high court for not less than 15 count money laundering charges bordering on his alleged warehousing and laundering of funds in excess of N1.6 billion for former governor of Delta state, James Onanefe Ibori who is serving a jail term in London prison for a related crime.
To avoid the escape of Babalakin who is the Chairman of Bi-Courteney Group, the concessionaire company that manages the Lagos airport(MMA2) and the dilapidated Lagos-Ibadan expressway,the lawyer turned businessman was again invited to the Abuja office of the EFCC last Wednesday, May 9 2012 where he was detained from 10am till about 5pm local time during which his travel documents were retrieved from him.
A top member of the team investigating the businessman told ireports-ng.com that”we invited him because we have gotten to a critical point of blocking all loopholes in the investigation and filing charges against the accused. Yes, he was detained for some hours because he was relying on some contacts in the presidency and didn’t want to cooperate. We needed to get his international travel passport as well as take his photograph for forensic purposes but he initially refused to cooperate.It is a standard practice to write the offence of such people on a piece of paper which they will hold on their chest while we take their photographs just as it was done in the Ibori picture released to the press by London police but he took offence. He eventually submitted himself for the photo session when it dawned on him he was going to sleep in the cell.”
Justifying while Babalakin was invited for another round of interrogation, our source who is very close to the agency’s chief executive, Ibrahim Lamorde disclosed that “we reviewed his past statements and felt like asking him more questions based on legal advice from our legal team that will prosecute the case.”
The source who claimed he was not mandated to speak on record on the case because of the enormous pressure from the National Security Adviser, NSA, General Andrew Owoeye Azazi on his boss,Lamorde to drop the case assured that the EFCC boss was ready to damn all consequences, prove a point and “file the matter in court any moment from now.”
ireports-ng.com had in an exclusive report on February 22, 2012 broken the news on the arrest and detention of Babalakin. According to the report then, “Babalakin was arrested in Lagos on Saturday and detained at the agency’s facility located off Awolowo road, Ikoyi, Lagos where he was interrogated till the following day, Sunday. A source in the team of operatives that quizzed Babalakin said the lawyer turned businessman was interrogated for allegedly providing his company bank accounts through which Ibori transferred over N1.6 billion to offshore accounts.
“The funds were said to have been moved from Delta state government accounts through companies owned by Babalakin under the guise of purchasing a jet which was never bought. The senior lawyer turned businessman is the Chairman of Bi-Courteny Aviation which owns the terminal two of the Lagos airport, Ikeja.
“The latest information linking Babalakin to funds stolen by Ibori was said to have been provided by the Met Police in London which wants more evidence to prosecute Ibori over money laundering charges in a Southwark court. Ibori’s wife,Nkoyo; his sister,Christie; his mistress, Udoamaka and lawyer have already been convicted and serving various jail terms in the UK.
“Though Babalakin has been granted administrative bail on Sunday, there are indications that he may be invited for further questioning if the Met Police that needs his statement is not satisfied with the information already obtained from him.”
The latest development has therefore confirmed that initial report on the case.