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Court frees Babachir Lawal, others from EFCC’s N544m grass-cutting contract fraud offences

by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, has discharged and acquitted the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir Lawal, and five others from a N544m Contract Fraud allegations brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The court, in a statement availed to journalists in Kaduna, Friday, held that the anti-graft agency failed woefully to establish prima facie case against the Ex-SGF and the co-defendants.

In a ruling on No Case Submission, made by Babachir Lawal and others, Justice Charles Agbaza held that EFCC said that no ingredient of any offence was 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 PINE 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 EFCC also failed to link Babachir Lawal with Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, that issued a Certificate of No Objection to the contract before it was awarded.

The Judge 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, Rholavision Engineering Limited and Josmon Technologies Limited 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 Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had on Monday, November 30, 2020, re-arraigned the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, before Justice Agbaza. 

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