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Alleged N544m fraud: EFCC to appeal acquittal of Babachir Lawal, others

THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it plans to appeal the ruling of Justice Charles Agbaza of the Federal Capital Territory High Court Abuja, following the dismissal of a 10-count charge of corruption brought against a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation,  Babachir Lawal.

Lawal and five others, today, were discharged and acquitted from the N544 million Contract Fraud offence brought against them by the EFCC as the court held that the anti-graft agency failed to establish a case against the former SGF and the co-defendants.

“But dissatisfied with the ruling, the EFCC has given indication that it will obtain a copy of the judgment for urgent review and challenge its validity at the appellate court,” EFCC’s Head, Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren said in a statement on Friday.

Ruling on the no case submission made by the defendants, Justice Agbaza held that the Commission which presented 11 witnesses in the course of the trial, failed to establish the ingredients of the alleged offence.

The court held that the commission 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.

Lawal; his younger brother, Hamidu David Lawal; Suleiman Abubakar; and Apeh John Monday were being prosecuted alongside two companies, Rholavision Engineering and Josmon Technologies on an amended 10-count charge, bordering on fraud, diversion of funds and criminal conspiracy to the tune of over N544million.

The 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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