A Judge of Federal High Court, Lagos, Justice James Tsoho yesterday, disqualified himself from a suit filed by the Chairman of Bi-Courtney Limited, Dr. Wale Babalakin, SAN, against the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Babalakin, in the suit, had accused both the AGF and the EFCC of making desperate efforts to prosecute him maliciously.
Babalakin, who is seeking a judicial review of the actions of the AGF and EFCC, was on February 23, 2015, discharged by Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo of an Ikeja High Court, Lagos, along with Alex Okoh, Stabilini Visinoni Ltd, Bi-Courtney Limited and Renix Nigeria Limited, over an alleged laundering of N4.7billion.
After two years in court, the Judge ruled that there was no basis for the charges and consequently struck out the charges and discharged Babalakin and other defendants.
Justice Akapo had then observed that the entire 27-count charge did not contain any single charge that constituted an offence under the laws of Nigeria.
However, following reports that the EFCC was planning to file the same charges against him on the same subject matter and on the same provisions of the law, Babalakin promptly approached the Federal High Court seeking protection and a Judicial Review of the actions.
The Court, presided over by Justice Tsoho, had on April 29, 2015, granted an order restraining EFCC, prohibiting the agency from proceeding with the action pending the determination of the suit.
The order was later vacated by the judge but the EFCC was asked to maintain status quo pending the final determination of the suit.
However, at Monday’s proceedings, the judge announced his withdrawal from the suit, following a petition from Babalakin through his lawyer to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, seeking the transfer of the case to another judge.
The basis of the petition dated June 19, 2015, was that the ex-parte order restraining EFCC from arresting him (Babalakin) was discharged by Justice Tsoho without a formal application.
After the judge announced his withdrawal from the suit, the EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, expressed his displeasure at the turn out of the event, saying he was never served with a copy of the petition.


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