A high court in the federal capital territory (FCT), has discharged and acquitted Babachir Lawal, former secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), over allegations of money laundering.
Lawal was standing criminal prosecution alongside Hamidu David Lawal, his younger brother; 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 a judgment delivered on Friday, the court held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed woefully to establish a prima facie case against the defendants.
Charles Agbaza, the presiding judge, upheld the defendants’ no-case submission, adding that no ingredient of any offence was made out by the 11 witnesses presented by the prosecution.
The Judge held that EFCC did not establish that Lawal was either a member of the presidential initiative for northeast (PINE) who awarded the contract, or a member of the ministerial tenders board that vetted and approved the contract.
The judge 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.
Consequently, the defendants were discharged and acquitted on all counts.