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Breaking: Court Clears Ex-SGF Lawal, Others Of N544m Scam

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A Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday discharged and acquitted a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, and five others from the N544 million contract fraud offences levelled against them.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had dragged Babachir Lawal, alongside his younger brother, Hamidu Lawal; Suleiman Abubakar; Apeh Monday and two companies, Rholavision Engineering Limited and Josmon Technologies Limited, before Justice Charles Agbaza.

The anti-graft agency had slammed 10 charges on them 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 November 30, 2020 re-arraigned Lawal before Justice Agbaza.

Delivering judgement on Friday, the judge held that the anti-graft agency failed to establish a prima facie case against the Ex-SGF and the co-defendants.

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

He stated 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.

The judge also 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.

Justice Agbaza discharged and acquitted all the defendants in the 10 criminal charges against them for want of evidence to link them with the purported offences.

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