Court Discharges, Acquits Babachir Lawal Over Grass Cutting Contract Scam

A Federal Capital Territory (FCT), High Court, has discharged and acquitted the former secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, over allegations of money laundering.

Lawal was standing criminal prosecution alongside his younger brother Hamidu David Lawal; Sulaiman Abubakar; Apeh John Monday and two companies, Rholavision Engineering Ltd, and Josmon Technologies Ltd.

They were re-arraigned on a 10-count charge bordering on diversion of funds, criminal conspiracy, and official corruption to the tune of N544 million.

In the judgment, the court held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed woefully to establish prima facie case against the defendants.

Justice Charles Agbaza held that the EFCC failed to establish a prima facie case against Lawal and others.

The EFCC had in 2020 arraigned Lawal on a 10-count charge of criminal conspiracy, fraud and diversion of about N500million over the diversion funds meant to clear evasive plant species and grasses in the North East.

In his ruling, Justice Agbaza held that the 11 witnesses presented by the EFCC did not give evidence to 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 gave approval to the disputed contract.

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