Fresh trouble for Babachir Lawal

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has set up a crack team to probe fraud allegations against immediate past Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Babachir Lawal.

President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Lawal on August 27, 2015.

Yesterday, the EFCC did not disclose the identity of the team that would probe Lawal but disclsoed they have been saddled with the task of investigating details of the award of grass cutting contracts by the Presidential Initiatives on North East( PINE) which Lawal chaired.

Last year, a Senate ad hoc committee, chaired by Shehu Sani, discovered that N200 million was paid for non-existent grass in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Yobe State.

The company was linked to the former SGF. It was also discovered that at the time the contracts were awarded, Lawal was still a signatory to the company’s accounts. He was also a director in the firm which got the contract.

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In its report, the committee recommended Lawal’s dismissal for corrupt practices.

The presidency rejected the recommendation on the grounds that Lawal was not given fair hearing.

Thereafter, the committee convened another hearing and came up with the same conclusion.

The recommendation was forwarded to Buhari, who, in turn, mandated his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo and two others, to investigate allegations of violations of law and due process against Lawal by the Senate. Buhari also directed Lawal’s immediate suspension, pending the outcome of the investigation.

Osinbajo submitted a report to Buhari in August, when he returned from medical check-up in London, the United Kingdom.

On Monday, October 30, 2017, Buhari sacked Lawal and directed the anti-graft agency to proceed with investigation of the former SGF. In his place, the president appointed Boss Gadi Mustapha, former managing director of the National Inland Waterways Agency (NIWA).

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Yesterday, the EFCC set up a crack team to investigate Lawal.

The new development is barely 24 hours after the anti-graft agency invited sacked director general of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ayodele Oke and his wife, Folashade, to appear before a team of investigators.

Oke’s wife had reportedly snubbed invitations from the EFCC while Oke, among other allegations, is being probed over the discovery of $43.45 million cash found in a private apartment linked to him, on Osborne Road, Ikoyi Lagos, on April 12, 2017.

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