Grass-cutting scandal: EFCC begins Babachir Lawal’s prosecution

Babachir Lawal

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday opened its case in the ongoing trial of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation Babachir Lawal and five others when it presented its first witness, Mohammed Babansule, a relationship manager with the First City Monument Bank (FCMB).

Mr Lawal along with his younger brother Hamidu Lawal; two others Suleiman Abubakar and Monday Apeh; and two companies Rholavision Engineering Ltd., and Josmon Technologies Ltd are standing trial before Justice Charles Agbaza of a Federal Capital Territory, FCT, High Court, Jabi Abuja on a 10-count charge bordering on diversion of funds, criminal conspiracy and official corruption to the tune of N544 million.

The defendants were re-arraigned before Justice Agbaza on November 30, 2020 after the demise of Justice Jude Okeke who had been hearing the matter.

In his examination-in-chief, the witness, who is the account manager of the sixth defendant, Josmon Technologies Ltd, told the court that the account opening form and other documents submitted to the bank showed that the fourth defendant, Apeh, is the signatory to the account.

In addition, Mr Babansule said the account of Josmon Technologies Ltd which was opened in 2015 was allocated to him in June 2018.

The prosecution counsel, O. I. Uket, thereafter asked the court to admit in evidence, copies of account opening package, Corporate Affairs Commission’s registration forms with copies of the director’s international passport and utility bill.

With no objection from the defence counsel, Justice Agbaza admitted the documents as exhibit 1 to 33 and adjourned the matter to January 21, 2021 for continuation of trial.