Court Frees Babachir, Others Of 554m ‘Grass-cutting’ Fraud

ABUJA – Justice Charles Agbaza of an High Court of Justice of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has discharged a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir David Lawal and five others over the alleged N544m contract fraud offences brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The court said the anti-graft agency failed to establish a prima facie case against the ex-SGF and the co-defendants.

The court in its ruling, on Friday, on no-case submission by Babachir Lawal and others, held that no ingredients of any offence was made out by the 11 witnesses that testified for the EFCC.

According to the court, EFCC did not establish that Babachir Lawal was either a member of the Presidential Initiative for North-East (PINE) that awarded the grass-cutting 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 Babachir Lawal with the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) that issued a Certificate of No Objection to the contract before it was awarded.

The Judge discharged and acquitted all the defendants in the 10-count criminal charges against them for want of evidence to link them with the purported offenses.

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