Emerging report reaching dailyexcessive news on Monday morning, indicates that a former Executive Director with First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Dauda Lawal, appeared before the Justice Ayo Salami-led Presidential Panel on Saturday, to give evidence against the suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu.
Dauda Lawal is currently standing trial before a Federal High Court, in Lagos, for allegedly receiving $25 million out of the $153 million loot traced to a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
A source close to the Panel said that the former Banker was invited as part of a probe into the investigative deficiencies of the EFCC under Ibrahim Magu.
He stated that Lawal was asked to testify without prejudice to his ongoing corruption trial.
It was learnt that while the former Banker was giving his testimony, Magu walked into the venue, at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, around 12pm, 3-hours before he was scheduled to appear.
A top source said: “Lawal appeared before the Panel to clarify some allegations he had made in the past against the EFCC, some of which had been reported to the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation. This was without prejudice to his ongoing corruption trial.
“However, Magu strolled in around 12pm, even though he was expected to arrive at 3pm. The Panel members were initially reluctant to let Magu witness the hearing, but he pleaded and was permitted to do so.”
Lawal, however, repeated the allegations he made against the EFCC, in a counter-affidavit he filed before Justice Muslim Hassan, of a Federal High Court, in 2017.
The EFCC had frozen Lawal’s accounts, and applied for the permanent forfeiture of his funds, which he challenged.
In a counter-affidavit he deposed to, which formed the basis for his invitation by the Panel, Lawal said that the EFCC detained him for 11 days, in 2016, and promised to release him only on the condition that he return some funds.
On how he received the $25 million, Lawal said that he received a call from a friend, Stanley Lawson, on March 2015, to help collect the money, which he subsequently paid into an account provided for him.
“I had no idea of the origin of the said funds, and only acted in the course of normal banking business.
“Having been invited and subsequently detained in Lagos, for 11 consecutive days, and without access to members of my immediate family, the EFCC Investigators kept suggesting and insisting that there was a shortfall of $40 million, which I had yet to account for.
“They were alleging that I had in fact taken $65 million, as opposed to the $25 million, which I stated that I had received. The EFCC Investigators interrogating me made it clear that the only way that I could/would leave detention, is if I made their suggested shortfall available to them.
“Because I never had this EFCC invented $40 million to give, I had to use my personal connections to source for and raise about 50 percent of the said amount, while I was in detention. I managed to borrow some of the money from the Bank, where I am an Executive Director, and surrendered it to the EFCC, through my Legal Counsel, and was eventually released from detention on May 20, 2016.
“Consequently, in a three-week period, between May 13 and June 6, 2016, I was made to surrender to the EFCC Recovery Account at the Central Bank of Nigeria, the total sum of N9.08 billion.”