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UPDATE: Again, EFCC arrests Atiku’s lawyer, son-in-law

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC] has arrested two persons close to Nigerian former Vice President and opposition leader, Atiku Abubakar.

Uyi Giwa Osagie, a longtime legal adviser to Mr Abubakar, and Abdullahi Babalele, the former vice-president’s son in-law, were taken into custody on Thursday evening, according to multiple sources familiar with the development.

The EFCC filed a money laundering charge against Atiku’s lawyer Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie, accusing him of laundering $2 million ahead of this year’s general elections in which Atiku, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate contested.

EFCC said the lawyer handled the $2 million without going through a financial institution, a sum exceeding the amount authorised by law to be transacted in cash.

A three-count charge, signed by prosecuting counsel Rotimi Oyedepo, was filed at the Federal High Court in Lagos against Giwa-Osagie and his brother Erhunse Giwa-Osagie.

EFCC said they allegedly contravened sections 18(a) and 1(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011, punishable under Section 16(2)(b).

The charges read: “That you Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie and Erhunse Giwa-Osagie, sometimes in February 2019 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired to commit an offence to wit: making cash payment of the sum of $2,000,000.00 (two million United State Dollars) without going through financial institution, which sum exceeded the amount authorised by law and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a), and 1(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.

“That you Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie, on or before the 12th day of February 2019 in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, procured Erhunse Giwa-Osagie to make cash payment of the sum of $2,000,000.00 without going through financial institution, which sum exceeded the amount authorised by law and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.

“That you Erhunse Giwa-Osagie, sometimes in February 2019 in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, made the payment of the sum of $2,000,000.00 without going through a financial institution, which sum exceeded the amount authorised by law and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Sections 1(a). & 16(1)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (As Amended) and Punishable under section 16 of the Same Act.”

EFCC operatives, who had first arrested Giwa-Osagie in February ahead of the election, said he will be arraigned next week.

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