The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to release the N9 billion seized from the former executive director of a first generation 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 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 decision of the Court of Appeal, is Appeal No: SC.212/2020, EFCC v. DAUDA LAWAL.
The ruling 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that the Order of Final Forfeiture of the sum of N9,080,000,000.00 made against Mr Dauda Lawal is set aside and rescinded; and that the said sum of N9,080,000,000.00 be returned to Dr.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 EFCC, in May 2016, charged Lawal with 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 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.