The trial of the Chairman of Bi-Courtney Ltd., Wale Babalakin, accused of a N4.7 billion fraud, has been transferred to a new judge.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayotunde Phillips, has re-assigned the case to Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had charged Babalakin to court for allegedly transferring the sum of N4.7 billion on behalf of convicted former Delta State Governor, James Ibori.
He is being prosecuted alongside Alex Okoh and their companies — Stabilini Visinoni Ltd., Bi-Courtney Ltd. and Renix Nig. Ltd.
The defendants are facing a 27-count charge bordering on conspiracy, retention of proceeds of a criminal conduct, and corruptly conferring benefit on account of public action.
At the continuation of the matter on Wednesday, the former trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo, notified the parties about the development.
Onigbanjo said the transfer of the case was necessitated by his recent transfer to the Commercial Division of the High Court.
Notwithstanding, the judge said the court would still deliver its pending ruling on the defendants’ applications to quash the charge.
In the applications filed by their respective counsel, the defendants had urged the court to quash the charges preferred against them by the EFCC.
They had argued that the EFCC had no power to institute criminal proceedings at a state high court, without a valid fiat duly issued to it by the state attorney-general.
The matter was adjourned till 31 October for ruling.