Dauda Lawal Fires Back At Magu, Writes Justice Salami Panel

    0
    375

    A Former Executive Director of First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Mr. Dauda Lawal fires back at the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu.

    In a letter addressed to the Presidential probe panel investigating allegations of gross misconducts against the suspended acting Chairman, a copy obtained by journalists on Thursday in Abuja, Lawal described Magu’s response as “laced with barefaced distortion of relevant facts”, and an attempt to mislead the Justice Salami led panel.

    In the detailed response, Lawal also accused Magu of “concocting a tale to suit his mischief without providing any supporting proof”.

    He also claimed that Mr Magu in his response sought to explain that the sum of US$153,310.000 (One Hundred and Fifty-Three Million, Three Hundred and Ten Thousand United States Dollars) was brought to Fidelity Bank Plc. from NNPC on behalf of Mrs. Deziani Alison-Madueke, but unfortunately couldn’t capture exactly the total amount allegedly brought by each person which sum at USD $152,480,000. “This latest summation by Mr. Magu is inconsistent”.

    Dauda Lawal’s rejoinder came barely a week after Magu’s response on the 30th of July, 2020, to the allegations of corruption, abuse of office, insubordination etc. made against him, wherein the suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) sought to provide his defence to paragraph D(17) of the Petition under what he has captioned “RELEVANT FACTS ON DAUDA LAWAL’S CASE”.

    The former banker stressed that; “Contrary to Mr. Magu’s narrative, the EFCC’s claim in their Affidavit is that while the total sum of US$113,310,000 was conveyed “in cash” by one Martins Izuogbe to Lanre Adesanya, Executive Director, Commercial and Institutional Bank, Sterling Bank Plc., “the remaining sum of US$40,000,000 (Forty Million United States Dollars) was also conveyed in cash to one Dr. Dauda Lawal, Executive Director, Public Sector, First Bank Plc.

    “Obviously, Mr. Magu’s latest claim that I received US$65,000,000.00 is a feeble attempt to reconcile the inconsistent figures arising from the EFCC’s improper investigation of the case before it.” He said.

    He further debunked Magu’s claim that “the defendants adopted many delay tactics for almost a year…it was agreed that expeditious determination of the case will only be achieved if the defendants are charged separately…”, saying that it is ‘not correct’.

    “It is clear from the record of proceedings before the Federal High Court that I was always ready and willing to defend the allegations against me in Court. At all times from the inception of the cases in Court, including the criminal Charge, I always appeared in Court to defend myself. I did not shy away from prosecution nor delay the prosecution of the case as alleged or at all.”

    READ LAWAL’S FULL STATEMENT BELOW:

    RE: FACTUAL RESPONSE TO THE DISTORTION OF FACTS RELATING TO THE CASE OF DAUDA LAWAL BY IBRAHIM MAGU

    1. In his response to the allegations of corruption, abuse of office, insubordination etc. made against him, the suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, sought to provide his defence to paragraph D(17) of the Petition under what he has captioned “RELEVANT FACTS ON DAUDA LAWAL’S CASE”.
    2. My Lord, I wish to respectfully state that the narrative by Mr. Ibrahim Magu in his said defence is laced with barefaced distortion of relevant facts, and is an attempt to mislead the Honourable Panel. Contrary to extant documentary evidence, Mr. Ibrahim Magu concocted a tale to suit his mischief without providing any supporting proof of his false account.
    3. I crave the indulgence of Your Lordship and distinguished members of the Panel to state the correct facts hereunder, as follows:

    a) Mr. Magu in his response sought to explain that the sum of US$153,310.000 (One Hundred and Fifty-Three Million, Three Hundred and Ten Thousand United States Dollars) was brought to Fidelity Bank Plc. from NNPC on behalf of Mrs. Deziani Alison-Madueke by the following persons and in the following manner:

     Gbenga Olu Komolafe, who brought US$70,000,000 (Seventy Million United States Dollars);
     Prince Haruna Momoh, who brought US$50,000,000 (Fifty Million United States Dollars);
     Umar Farouk Ahmed, who brought US$7,000,000 (Seven Million United States Dollars);
     Stanely Lawson, who brought US$21,980,000 (Twenty-One Million, Nine Hundred and Eighty Thousand United States Dollars); and
     Babajide Sonoiki, who brought US$3,500,000 (Three Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars).

    My Lord, a simple arithmetical calculation will show that by Mr. Magu’s narrative, the total amount of the above sums allegedly brought by the above named persons from NNPC to Fidelity Bank Plc. is the sum of US$152,480,000. This latest summation by Mr. Magu is inconsistent with the depositions contained in the Affidavit in support of the Motion Ex parte for Interim Forfeiture filed by the EFCC before the Federal High Court on 6th January 2017 that the amount brought from NNPC to Fidelity Bank Plc. was US$153,310.000.

    Copy of the said Affidavit in support of the Motion Ex parte for Interim Forfeiture is herein attached.

    Worse still is that both in Mr. Magu’s narrative and in the Affidavit filed by the EFCC in support of the Ex parte Application, Mr. Magu and the EFCC failed to show or disclose how the above sums were withdrawn or “moved” from the NNPC by the above named persons.

    No account operated or managed by NNPC in any Bank or financial institution was given as the source of where the sum was allegedly withdrawn. No record of or from NNPC has been shown to support the bogus allegation that the sums as alleged by Mr. Magu was withdrawn from NNPC and “moved” to Fidelity Bank Plc.

    One wonders how the EFCC and Mr. Magu could rely on the above claims which are false, unfounded and contradictory as the foundation/basis of their allegations against me.

    b) Secondly, in his response submitted to the Honourable Panel, Mr. Magu claimed that upon the receipt of the above funds, “the sum of US$88,310,000 (Eighty-Eight Million, Three Hundred and Ten Thousand United States Dollars) was fraudulently disbursed to Sterling Bank Plc. whilst the sum of US$65,000,000.00 (Sixty Five Million United States Dollars) was released to Dauda Lawal of First Bank Nigeria Plc.”

    Again, My Lord, this account by Mr. Magu is a complete distortion of the allegations as contained in EFCC’s Affidavit in support of the Forfeiture Proceedings.

    Contrary to Mr. Magu’s narrative, the EFCC’s claim in their Affidavit is that while the total sum of US$113,310,000 was conveyed “in cash” by one Martins Izuogbe to Lanre Adesanya, Executive Director, Commercial and Institutional Bank, Sterling Bank Plc., “the remaining sum of US$40,000,000 (Forty Million United States Dollars) was also conveyed in cash to one Dr. Dauda Lawal, Executive Director, Public Sector, First Bank Plc.”

    Obviously, Mr. Magu’s latest claim that I received US$65,000,000.00 is a feeble attempt to reconcile the inconsistent figures arising from the EFCC’s improper investigation of the case before it.

    c) Also in his response, Mr. Magu claimed that “Dauda Lawal and Sterling Bank Plc admitted receiving the funds from Fidelity Bank. The said sum of N9,080,000,000.00 was recovered from Dauda Lawal as the Naira equivalent of the Dollars received by him.”

    With due respect, My Lord, the above claim is patently false and amounts to distortion of facts. This is because in my Counter-Affidavit in opposition to the Forfeiture Proceedings before the Federal High Court, I vehemently denied receiving any such sums of money as alleged or at all. I deposed therein that the amount I received/collected from the Fidelity Bank Plc. on the instruction/directive of One Dr. Stanley Lawson was the sum of $25,000,000 (Twenty-Five Million Dollars) in boxes.

    I deposed that I received the said sum of $25,000,000 in the ordinary course of my banking business; and both Dr. Stanley Lawson and Lanre Adesanya of Sterling Bank Plc confirmed that I transferred the Naira equivalent of the said $25,000,000 to Sterling Bank Plc., which amount was kept by Sterling Bank Plc in an account known to and under the exclusive control of Sterling Bank Plc.

    There was no dispute in the proceedings before the Federal High Court that I was not in possession and control of the said sum of $25,000,000. (See paras. 6 and 7 of my Counter-Affidavit filed on 23rd January 2017)

    Furthermore, contrary to Mr. Magu’s claim in his response, the sum of N9,080,000,000.00 in issue was not recovered from me “as the Naira equivalent of the Dollars received by him [me].” Your Lordship will find that in several paragraphs of my Counter-Affidavit in opposition to the Forfeiture Proceedings, I deposed that I was made to agree to surrender the said sum to EFCC “in order to regain my freedom from their detention centre located in the South-West Ikoyi area of Lagos…the said payments were made to the EFCC on the clear understanding that I would be released on bail immediately…”

    I also deposed thus, that: “I deny that the said sum of N9,080,000,000.00 (Nine Billion, Eighty Million Naira) was retained by me following which it was recovered by the EFCC in draft…I was made to surrender to the Commission the amount totaling N9,080,000,000.00…during my detention by the EFCC during which I was denied my freedom for eleven (11) consecutive days, without access to members of my immediate family…I was made to surrender to the EFCC the equivalent of the amount of $40,000,000…after I had been interrogated continuously and denied sleep for over 72 hours…”

    (On the above depositions, see paragraphs 5(f), (g), (l) and (m) and 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 of Dr. Dauda Lawal’s Counter-Affidavit)

    d) In his further bid to distort the facts and mislead the Honourable Panel, Mr. Magu claimed in his response that “out of the sum of US$65,000,000 received by Dauda Lawal, the sum of US$25,000,000 was later converted to the sum of N5.050,000,000 and transferred from First Bank Nigeria Plc. to Sterling Bank for the acquisition of a five-star hotel called Ogeyi Place Le-Meridian Hotel situated at Tombia Street, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.”

    As I earlier submitted, My Lord, the above claim by Mr. Magu is inconsistent with the uncontroverted evidence before the Federal High Court that I transferred the Naira equivalent of the said $25,000,000 to Sterling Bank Plc., which amount was kept by Sterling Bank Plc. in an account known to and under the exclusive control of Sterling Bank Plc.

    It is important to point out that the basis of the allegation in Counts 1 and 2 of the Amended Charge filed against me by the EFCC is that I was privy to the purchase of the property known as Meridien Ogeyi Palace Hotel. Available records from Sterling Bank confirm that the property known as Meridian Ogeyi Palace was purchased by Sterling Bank from a special account maintained and managed by Sterling Bank. The said Meridian Ogeyi Palace was, in fact, transferred to the Sterling Bank who, till date, has retained the title documents to the property.

    The said Meridian Ogeyi Palace Hotel was paid for by Sterling Bank Plc and the transfer of the property is in the name of Sterling Bank Plc.’s subsidiary, Sterling Asset Management Limited. I am not a staff of Sterling Bank Plc. and there is no evidence, whatsoever, to show that I gave any instruction or was involved in the transfer of monies from Sterling Bank Plc. towards the purchase of the said property.

    The allegation that the said Meridian Ogeyi Palace Hotel was purchased with funds transferred from First Bank Plc. is, utterly, without any foundation. No instrument of transfer or account records in First Bank Plc. supports this unfounded tale by Mr. Magu.

    Even if it is conceded that I paid in/transferred the equivalent of $25million on the directives of Dr. Stanley Lawson into an account in Sterling Bank Plc., that, in and of itself, is not evidence that I was privy to the purchase of the property.

    Respectfully, the charges against me in the Amended Charge are neither supported by the evidence in the Proof of Evidence nor is it logical to charge me in the circumstances.

    Curiously, for reasons best known to Mr. Magu and the EFCC, the Banks and their officials who had custody, control and possession of the monies are completely left out in the Charge before the Federal High Court, thus making the charges against me utterly frivolous and unsupportable.

    e) Finally, Mr. Magu claimed in his response to the Petition that “the defendants adopted many delay tactics for almost a year…it was agreed that expeditious determination of the case will only be achieved if the defendants are charged separately…”

    My Lord, the above claim is also not correct. Contrary to Mr. Magu’s claim, it is clear from the record of proceedings before the Federal High Court that I was always ready and willing to defend the allegations against me in Court. At all times from the inception of the cases in Court, including the criminal Charge, I always appeared in Court to defend myself. I did not shy away from prosecution nor delay the prosecution of the case as alleged or at all.

    Rather than proceed with the case, the EFCC, for reasons best known to it, decided to drop all charges against the rest of the defendants. As shown above, the Banks and their officials who had custody, control and possession of the monies are completely left out in the Charge before the Federal High Court, thus making the charges against me utterly frivolous and unsupportable.

    To the best of my knowledge, till date, the EFCC has not instituted any other Charge.

    f) Concluding his response on this aspect of the allegations against him, Mr. Magu rightly stated that the Court of Appeal delivered its judgment in the case before the Court and directed the EFCC to release the sum of N9,080,000,000.00 to me. He also rightly stated that the EFCC has filed an appeal against the Judgment to the Supreme Court and has transmitted the record of appeal to Supreme Court, and same has been entered as Appeal No: SC/CV/212/2020.

    Unfortunately, he failed to inform the Honourable Panel that while I filed a Cross-Appeal against some aspects of the Judgment of the Court of Appeal and have since filed my Cross-Appellant Brief and served same on the EFCC, the EFCC have since failed and refused to file its Appellant’s Brief of Argument in the main Appeal No: SC/CV/212/2020.

    It is my respectful view that while the appeal is still pending before the Supreme Court and should not and ought not to be pre-judged, the pendency of the appeal does not justify the obvious misrepresentations and distortion of facts contained in Mr. Magu’s response on this aspect of the Petition against him.

    1. CONCLUSION

    4.1. It is my firm belief that the Honourable Panel may find the above clarifications relevant in considering the merits of the Petition made against Mr. Magu on this aspect of the case. Shorn of all niceties, his response to the Petition shows, in the least, that under Mr. Magu’s administration:

    (a) The EFCC did not properly investigate the allegations prior to the forfeiture proceedings. It left out very important aspects of the matter and neglected to conduct a diligent, reasonable and unbiased forensic examination of the relevant facts.

    (b) EFCC’s decision to drop all charges against the rest of the defendants in Charge No. FHC/419C/2019 and to prosecute me alone, is most unjustified, unwarranted and unsupportable.

    (c) EFCC’s continued indifference, neglect and refusal to charge (and or re-institute) a criminal allegation against the real persons who received and had possession of the alleged monies “moved from NNPC” shows the mischief of the EFCC; and further attests to Mr. Magu’s unprofessional and deliberate vindictiveness against persons like me who refuse to “co-operate” with him and his fronts.

    4.2. I hope, Sir, that the above serves to clarify the relevant issues relating to my persecution by the EFCC under Mr. Magu.

    Thank you, Sir.

    Yours faithfully,

    DR. DAUDA LAWAL

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here