The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to release the N9 billion it 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, 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 March 25, 2020.
The Supreme Court judgement, which unanimously affirmed and upheld the above decision of the Court of Appeal in Appeal No: SC.212/2020, EFCC v. DAUDA LAWAL.
In its judgment Friday, the Supreme Court upheld affirmed and determined that the order of final forfeiture of the sum of N9,080,000,000.00 made against Mr Lawal be set aside and rescinded; and that the said sum of N9,080,000,000.00 be returned to Mr Lawal forthwith.
The above judgment given by the Supreme Court of Nigeria brings to a close the case by EFCC against Mr Lawal which began in May 2016 when the EFCC accused him of money laundering and of obtaining monies suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.
On October 7, 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 charges brought against him by the EFCC in Charge No FHC/L/419C/2018 FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA V. DAUDA LAWAL.