Supreme Court, on Friday, has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC) to release the N9 billion seized from a former executive director of First Bank, Dauda Lawal.
In a unanimous judgement, the five-man panel, led by Justice Muhammad Lawal Garba, on March 12, 2021, dismissed the appeal filed by the EFCC against the judgement of the Court of Appeal which, among other things, ordered that: “The decisions of the Federal High Court, Coram Judice: Hassan, J. delivered in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/13/2017 on 16th February 2017 are hereby set aside.
“The order of final forfeiture of the sum of N9,080,000,000.00 (Nine Billion and Eighty Million Naira) to the Federal Government of Nigeria is hereby set aside.
“It is hereby ordered that the said sum of N9,080,000,000.00 (Nine Billion and Eighty Million Naira) be returned to the Appellant forthwith.”
The above judgment delivered by the court of Appeal, Lagos Division was in Appeal No CA/LAG/CV/480/2019 DAUDA LAWAL V. EFCC & ANOR dated 25 March 2020.
The Supreme Court judgement which, unanimously, affirmed and upheld the above decision of the Court of Appeal is Appeal No: SC.212/2020, EFCC v. DAUDA LAWAL.
By this final Judgment of the Supreme Court, the Apex Court has, conclusively, upheld, affirmed and determined that the Order of Final Forfeiture of the sum of N9,080,000,000.00 made against Mr Dauda Lawal is set aside and rescinded; and that the said sum of N9,080,000,000.00 be returned to Dr Dauda Lawal forthwith.
The above judgment given by the Supreme Court of Nigeria finally and conclusively brings to a close the case by EFCC against Mr Lawal which began in May 2016 when the EFCC charged him with the allegation of money laundering and obtaining monies suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.
On 7 October 2020, the Federal High Court, Lagos Division, discharged and acquitted Mr Lawal of the offences of money laundering, obtaining monies suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities and the other unsubstantiated charges brought against him by the EFCC in Charge No FHC/L/419C/2018 FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA V. DAUDA LAWAL.