Court admits extra-judicial statements as exhibit in Atiku’s son-in-law’s trial

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, sitting at the Federal High Court in Lagos, on Wednesday, admitted five extra-judicial statements of a witness, Bashir Garba, in the ongoing trial of Abdullahi Babalele, said to be Son-in-law of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had alleged that Babalele laundered about $140,000 (dollars), in the build-up to the last general elections.

He however pleaded not guilty to the charge and was granted bail in the sum of N20 million with one surety in like sum.

On Tuesday, prosecution opened its case and called its first witness, Mr Bashir Garba a clearing agent and friend to the defendant.

In his evidence, the witness had testified how he delivered the Naira equivalent of the sum of $140,000 (dollars) to the home of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, following the defendant’s instructions.

But, under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), the defendant affirmed that he wrote statements at the EFCC’s office during investigation.

When Ozekhome sought to tender one of his statement sas an exhibit, prosecution raised objection on the tendering and admissibility of an extra judicial statement of a witness, citing the case of Okeke Vs State.

In his ruling on Wednesday, Justice Aneke, agreed with the submission of prosecution on the admissibility of such document, with an addendum that same could only be admissible, where proper foundation is laid.

The court then held that the defence was at liberty to lay the required foundation, if it so desired.

The court, however, adjourned said that the trial will continue on January 29-30 and on February 12-13, 2020.

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