Nigerian Anti graft Agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Thursday dropped the 47 counts of N6bn fraud charges instituted against a former Minister of Works, Dr. Hassan Lawal, and nine others, before a Federal High Court, Abuja.
The accused were to be arraigned afresh before Justice Ahmed Mohammed on Thursday when the EFCC prosecuting counsel, Mr. Wahab Shittu, informed the court that he had “a firm instruction” of the commission to discontinue the charges.
Other accused persons who were discharged along with Lawal were Dr. Adeola Ademola, Dave Enejoh, Okala Yakubu and Thahal Paul, Digital Toll Company Ltd, Swede Control Intertek Ltd, Proman Vital Ventures Ltd, Wise Health Services Ltd and Abbey Building Society.
Upon the application Justice Mohammed discharged the accused persons.
It will be recalled that Lawal and others were being prosecuted for fraudulently obtaining a total sum of N6.41bn from the Federal Government, Kogi and Nasarawa State governments between 2006 and 2009 under a public-private partnership concession scheme for the construction of a bridge across River Benue.
The bridge projected to cost N24.36bn and was due for commencement on May 21, 2007 and completion on May 20, 2009, was to link Guto and Bangana in Nasarawa and Kogi states respectively.
The federal and the two other state governments were said to have contributed N6.14bn to the joint account as stipulated by the agreement while the private partners in the scheme made no contribution.