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HomeLatest newsEx-SGF Lawal freed, EFCC plans appeal

Ex-SGF Lawal freed, EFCC plans appeal



SGF

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory has discharged and acquitted a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, and five others of the N544m contract fraud preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The court held on Friday that the anti-graft agency failed to establish a prima facie case against Lawal and his co-defendants.

Delivering a ruling on the no case submission made by the accused, Justice Charles Agbaza held that no ingredient of any offence was established by the 11 witnesses, who testified for the EFCC.

The judge held that EFCC did not establish that Lawal was either a member of the Presidential Initiative for the North-East that awarded the contract or a member of the Ministerial Tenders Board that vetted and gave approval for the disputed contract.

Besides, Justice Agbaza held that the EFCC also failed to link Lawal with the Bureau of Public Procurement that issued a certificate of no objection to the contract before it was awarded.

The judge discharged and acquitted all the defendants of the 10 counts against them for want of evidence to link them with the purported offences.

The ex-SGF alongside his younger brother, Hamidu Lawal; Suleiman Abubakar, Apeh Monday and two companies, Rholavision Engineering Limited and Josmon Technologies Limited, were prosecuted by the EFCC for their alleged roles in the contract.

They faced 10 charges bordering on fraud relating to the removal of invasive plant species to the tune of N544m for which they pleaded not guilty.

The EFCC had on Monday, November 30, 2020 re-arraigned the former SGF before Justice Agbaza.

Meanwhile, the EFCC has said it will appeal Friday’s verdict of a Federal Capital Territory High Court.

Speaking with one of our correspondents, the spokesperson for the anti-graft agency, Wilson Uwujaren, added that the court verdict would be reviewed by the EFCC.

Uwujaren said, “We are reviewing the verdict. However, we will appeal the verdict in court.”

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