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Thursday, 25 January 2018

N200m PINE fraud: Babachir ‘sings song’ in EFCC custody

N200m PINE fraud: Babachir ‘sings song’ in EFCC custody

Babachir Lawal

On the second night of his detention over alleged siphoning of at least N200 million from the Presidential Initiative for the North East by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, indications emerged that the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal, was sober and responding to all issues put to him by his interrogators.

Sources within the commission said the operatives were not leaving any stone unturned in unearthing any misconduct related to the diversion of the N200 million and other scams in the PINE when Babachir held sway as the SGF.

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“As we speak, the former SGF is still with our operatives telling them all that he knows about the award of the N200 million to a firm allegedly belonging to him.

“I cannot say at this point if the former government scribe would be granted administrative bail on self recognition or not,” one of the sources told Vanguard Thursday night.

Spokesman for the EFCC, Samin Ammadin, confirmed that Babachir was still with the EFCC, adding that nothing ‘has changed’ from where he was the previous night.

It will be recalled that the EFCC on Wednesday detained Babachir over his alleged involvement in a contract scam of about N200 million.

Babachir was first suspended from office on the orders of President Muhammadu Buhari last April when the Senate Committee headed by Senator Shehu Sani exposed how he used a firm owned by him to award N200 million contract to himself.

Although he claimed to have resigned from the firm after getting the top federal job, the special panel headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo indicted him, leading to his quiet removal.

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After he was booted out of office late last year, he was asked to report to the EFCC, which detained him on Wednesday after eight hours of grilling by its operatives.

As at the time of filing the report Babachir was still being held and it was not clear if he would be left off the hook, at least, temporarily.

It was also not clear if his sudden arrest was a coincidence with the release of former President Obasanjo’s scathing letter against Buhari or a mere coincidence.

Former National Intelligence Agency Director General, Amb. Ayodele Oke, who was removed from office simultaneously with Babachir, has been shielded from arrest by his office operatives on the claim that he was above arrest, having performed security duties at the highest level.

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