Court Frees Ex-SGF, Babachir Lawal, Others over Alleged N544m Fraud

  • We’ll appeal verdict, says EFCC
Babachir Lawal, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation


An Abuja High Court Presided over by Justice Charles Agbaza, on Friday discharged and acquitted a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Babachir Lawal and five others from the N544million contract fraud offences brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In its judgment, the court held that the anti-graft agency failed woefully to establish a prima facie case against Lawal and his co-defendants. Presiding judge, Justice Charles Agbaza, held that no ingredient of any offence was made out by the 11 witnesses that testified for the EFCC.

The Judge also held that 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 gave approval to the disputed contract.

Besides, Justice Agbaza held that EFCC also failed to link Lawal with the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) that issued a certificate of no objection to the contract before it was awarded.

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

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 Charles Agbaza on a 10-count charge bordering on fraud relating to the removal of invasive plant species to the tune of N544 million for which they pleaded not guilty.

However, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has vowed to appeal the judgment.

Spokesperson for the anti-graft body, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said “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”.

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