A former executive director of First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Mr Dauda Lawal, said that he appeared before the Justice Ayo Salami-led presidential panel to expatiate on an affidavit he earlier submitted to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice over the investigative deficiencies of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC under its suspended acting chairman, Ibrahim Magu.
Speaking through his counsel, Mr Patrick IIwueto, SAN, Lawal said he 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.
In a counter-affidavit he deposed to which formed the basis for his invitation by the panel, Lawal said the EFCC detained him for 11 days in 2016 and promised to release him only on the condition that he return some funds.
The panel asked Lawal to testify without prejudice to his ongoing corruption trial.
The EFCC had frozen Lawal’s accounts and applied for the permanent forfeiture of his funds which the ex-banker challenged.
On how he received the $25m, Lawal said 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,” he said.
The former banker said the EFCC allegedly compelled him to provide funds he never received.
Lawal said in the affidavit, “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 $40m, which I had yet to account for.
“They were alleging that I had in fact taken $65m as opposed to the $25m, 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 $40m to give, I had to use my personal connections to source for and raised about 50 per cent of the said amount while I was in detention. I managed to borrow some of the money from the bank where I was 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 N9.08bn,” he said.
Meanwhile, Magu’s lawyer, Mr. Wahab Shittu, in a statement entitled ‘Re: Magu faces questions over assets declaration – Fresh Propaganda Against Our Client Prejudicial to Panel Proceedings,’ said his client will no longer condone allegations levelled against him.