AN Abuja High Court on Friday, November 18 discharged and acquitted a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir Lawal and five others from charges bordering on N544 million contract fraud filed against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The court held that the EFCC failed to establish a case against the ex-SGF and his co-defendants.
The EFCC had, on November 30, 2020, re-arraigned Lawal and the others before Justice Charles Agbaza.
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The other defendants in the case are Lawal’s younger brother, Hamidu Lawal, Apeh Monday, Suleiman Abubakar and two companies – Josmon Technologies Limited and Rholavision Engineering Limited.
They were tried on a 10-count charge relating to a grass cutting contract fraud in the tune of N544 million.
The ex-SGF and other defendants denied the charge.
Delivering a ruling on a no-case submission filed by Lawal and other defendants on Friday, November 18, Justice Agbaza held that the EFCC failed woefully to establish a prima facie case against the accused persons.
The Judge held that no ingredients of any offence were made out by the 11 witnesses that testified for the EFCC.
According to the judge, the EFCC did not establish that 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 approved it.
Justice Agbaza further held that the EFCC failed to link Lawal with the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) which issued a certificate of no objection to the contract before it was awarded.
The judge therefore discharged and acquitted all the defendants for want of evidence.
A reporter with the ICIR
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