Court discharges, acquits Babachir Lawal of alleged N544m fraud

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BY MAYOWA SAMUEL

Uba Group

A Federal Capital Territory High Court has discharged and acquitted a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal and five others from the N544 million contract fraud offence brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The Court held that the anti-graft agency failed to establish a case against the Ex-SGF and the co-defendants.

Ruling on a no-case submission made by Babachir Lawal, Justice Charles Agbaza held that the EFCC said that no ingredients of any offence were made out by the 11 witnesses that testified for the EFCC.

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

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

The judge hence, discharged and acquitted all the defendants in the 10-count criminal charges against them for want of evidence to link them with the purported offences.

Babachir Lawal alongside his younger brother, Hamidu Lawal; Suleiman Abubakar; Apeh Monday and two companies, were prosecuted by the EFCC before Justice Charles Agbaza.

They faced a 10-count charge bordering on fraud relating to the removal of evasive plant species to the tune of N544 million for which they pleaded not guilty.

The EFCC had on Monday, November 30, 2020 re-arraigned the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal before Justice Agbaza.