Just as his company, Bi-Courtney is still trying to grapple with the reality of the revocation of the concession agreement between it and the Federal Government over the rehabilitation of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, there is more trouble coming for Dr. Wale Babalakin. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday filed charges of money laundering against him at the Lagos High Court, Ikeja. Bi-Courtney and Alex Okon were charged alongside Dr. Wale Babalakin.
The EFCC alleged that Babalakin used inflated contracts worth about N 8.9 billion to launder funds to the United Kingdom. The contracts included the construction of a stadium in Asaba which was allegedly inflated by N 1. 5 billion. The EFCC alleged in the charge that between 1999 and 2007 when Chief James Ibori was the governor of the state, Babalakin served as his conduit-pipe for money laundering on the pretext of executing major contracts for the state government.
Babalakin was also alleged to have used five dedicated companies and 12 cheques to launder N1.356 billion. The EFCC has therefore charged him for allegedly paying bribes and serving as a money laundering courier for the former Delta State Governor, James Onanefe Ibori.
It was also alleged that Babalakin was given a special account in London into which he paid the 12 cheques he issued in the names of the said companies.
The laundered sum was allegedly converted to $23 million and an attempt was made to use it in buying a Chandelier Bombardier private jet for Ibori. The money was however seized by the UK Government thus making the acquisition of the jet impossible.
The anti-graft body also alleged that most of the materials to be used for the construction of the controversial stadium were allegedly subcontracted to a company owned by Ibori while the proposed stadium was also allegedly never built but the full contract sum released.
Chief James Ibori, his wife, Theresa, his lawyer, Bhadresh Gohil as well as his female acquaintance, Uzoamaka Okoronkwo-Onuigbo are serving jail terms for money laundering in the UK. The EFCC is praying the court that Babalakin too should be tried for the same offence for which Ibori was jailed.