Court acquits ex-minister of N43million fraud
A federal High Court in Abuja has acquitted and discharged former Minister of Works, Mr Hassan Lawal and a former bank official, Adesanya Adewale from the eight count charge bothering on conspiracy and corruption to the tune of N43 million slammed on them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The trial judge, Justice Adamu Bello, chided the anti-graft agency for a shoddy investigation.
Lawal and Adesanya had earlier pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to them, and consequently brought a no case submission after the prosecution had closed its case.
Ruling on the no case submission, Justice Bello held that the prosecution failed to prove the essential ingredients of money laundering before the court adding that the anti-graft agency did not present any evidence to prove that the transferred funds were derived from illegal and corrupt proceeds.
Dismissing the counts on conspiracy, the court held that having failed to prove that the money transferred was from illegal and unlawful sources, it can't be proved that there was conspiracy between the 1st and 2nd defendants.
He also held that the charge of conspiracy to launder money failed in its entirety stating that from the exhibits before the court, there was nothing like conspiracy.
Lawal was alleged of misappropriation of funds meant for the rehabilitation of the Guto-Bagana Bridge across River Benue while Adewale, a former banker, was alleged to have assisted him to launder the money.