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Grass-cutting: Court Discharges and Acquits Babachir Lawal

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A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has discharged and acquitted a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal and five others of the N544M contract fraud offences brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The court, on Friday, held that the anti-graft agency failed to establish a case against the Ex-SGF and the co-defendants.

In the ruling, the presiding judge, Justice Charles Agbaza, held that the testimonies of the 11 witnesses presented by the EFCC were insufficient to convict the defendants.

Justice Charles ruled that the EFCC did not establish that Lawal was either a member of the Presidential Initiative for the North East (PINE) that awarded the contract or a member of the Ministerial Tenders Board that vetted and gave approval to the disputed contract.

The anti-graft agency also 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.

All the defendants in the 10-count criminal charge were discharged and acquitted for want of evidence to link them with the offences.

They were held on charges bordering on fraud relating to the removal of evasive plant species to the tune of N544 million for which they pleaded not guilty.


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