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MONEY LAUNDERING: EFCC Arraigns First Bank ED Over $153 Million Linked With Diezani

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC has arraigned Mr. Lawal Dauda, First Bank’s Executive Director and APC Gubernatorial candidate in Zamfara state for allegedly helping a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke, to conceal a total of $153.3million in 2015.

The Commission had slated Lawal, alongside Lanre Adesanya, Nnamdi Okonkwo and Stanley Lawson for arraignment before Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday, December 10, 2018 but was the case was adjourned till December 17, 2018.

Lawal’s lawyer, Hassan Liman (SAN), told the judge that his client had been in the custody of the EFCC since November 29. He prayed the court to admit him to bail. Justice Hassan, however ruled he lacked jurisdiction to grant Liman’s request as the defendants were yet to be arraigned and therefore directed that Lawal should be taken back to the custody of the EFCC

Specifically, Lawal was accused in count 5 of taking possession of a sum of 65 million dollars which “you reasonably ought to have known from part of the proceeds of unlawful activity of Mrs. Diezani Allison-Maduekwe, thereby committing an offence contrary to section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as amended and publishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act

Also in count 14, he was accused of refraining from reporting to the EFCC suspicious transaction of the sum of 65 million dollars and thereby committed an offence contrary to sections 6(1), 6(2), 16 (1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as amended and publishable under section 16 (2) (a) of the same Act.

The anti-graft agency argued that all the defendants ought to have reasonably known that the money “formed parts of proceeds of unlawful activity: to wit: corruption”. It said the defendants committed the offence sometime in 2015, adding that they breached sections 18(a) and 15(2)(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011, as amended, and were liable to be punished under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

Political analysts agree that this development might has put a huge fire into Lawal’s ambitious project of becoming the next governor of Zamfara state.

But the Zamfara Unity Forum maintained that Lawal, who emerged as the ‘consensus governorship candidate’ of the All Progressives Congress, is been arrested and detained by the EFCC ‘as part of the grand plan to influence the election’.

The emergence of Lawal followed the inability of Governor Abdulaziz Yari to get his Commissioner of Finance, Mukhtar Idris, to be APC’s candidate.

The Independent National Electoral Commission had insisted it will not accept list of candidates from Zamfara APC, saying the party failed to comply with the laws in the conduct of its primaries.

Born on 2 September 1965 in Gusau, Zamfara State, Lawal graduated from Ahmadu Bello University in 1987 with BSc in Political Science He obtained an MSc, Political Science/International Relations from the same university in 1992, and holds a PhD in Business Administration from Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.

He started his working career in 1989 as Political Education Officer with the Agency for Mass Mobilization for Social and Economic Reliance Nigeria. In 1989, he joined Westex Nigeria Limited as an Assistant General Manager.

Lawal joined First Bank of Nigeria Plc in May 2003; as Relationship Manager, Commercial Banking, and was at various times Senior Manager, Abuja Area office, Business Development Manager, Abuja, Principal Manager, Group Head PSG II, Assistant General Manager (Business Development Manager), Maitama.

He was also Deputy General Manager (Business Development Manager), Maitama/Group Head Public Sector, Abuja. Between October 2010 and September 2011 he was elevated to the position of Executive Vice President, Public Sector, North of First Bank of Nigeria Plc. In September 2012 he became Executive Director, Public Sector North, of First Bank of Nigeria Plc.