Politics

EFCC witness reveals how Atiku’s son-in-law instructed him to deliver $140,000 to Obasanjo during build-up of 2019 election

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar

Bashir Mohammed, a witness at the trial of Abdullahi Babalele, the son-in-law of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, revealed how he allegedly took $140,000 to former President Olusegun Obasanjo during the build-up of the 2019 general elections.

The witness who alleged to be a close friend of Atiku’s son-in-law stated this before Justice C.J. Aneke at the Federal High Court in Lagos.

According to him, he delivered a naira equivalent of $140,000 to Obasanjo on the instruction of Babalele (Atiku’s son-in-law).

Mohammed who was brought in by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to testify against Babalele at the court revealed that he received a phone call from his friend Babalele to deliver a message to an elder statesman.

Mohammed said on the request of Babalele, he gave two bank accounts which were credited and he took the money to Obasanjo’s residence in Abeokuta in Ogun State.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo

“When I got to the gate, somebody came and took me inside where I met former President Olusegun Obasanjo and delivered the message.

“I called the defendant in the presence of former President Obasanjo and informed him that I had delivered the message. He said that was good and thanked me,” Mohammed said.

Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), the defence counsel to the accused, during cross-examination asked the EFCC witness, Mohammed, whether he wrote a statement at the EFCC office during investigation; the witness said yes.

The defence counsel further asked that Mohammed’s statement be tendered as exhibit before the court, but the EFCC counsel objected.

Justice Aneke however adjourned till Wednesday to rule on whether to order EFCC to tender Mohammed’s statement as evidence.

Babalele is the son-in-law of former VP Atiku who was the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23 election. Obasanjo endorsed and supported Atiku to emerge as president. But he however lost the election to President Muhammadu Buhari, the incumbent and candidate of the All Progressives Congress.

The EFCC had accused and arraigned Babalele for money laundering after the election. He was accused of making cash payment of $140,000 without using the bank.

Former VP Atiku had raised an alarm few months ago on a plot by the EFCC to cause disaffection between him and his former boss, Obasanjo.

Atiku was Obasanjo’s deputy from 1999 to 2007.

The said amount is higher than the threshold cash allowed by the money laundering law. EFCC consequently arraigned Babalele on a two count charge for the offence.

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