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N544m scam: Court frees ex-SGF, Babachir Lawal, others

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

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

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

The Judge held that the 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 to 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 in the 10 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 Agbaza.

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

The EFCC had on November 30, 2020 re-arraigned Lawal before Justice Agbaza.

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