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Monday, 12 November 2018

EFCC Set To Prosecute Babachir Lawal, Drafts Charges

EFCC Set To Prosecute Babachir Lawal, Drafts Charges

– The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has submitted the report of its investigation into fraud allegations against a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal.

Lawal, while he was the SGF, was accused of looting the funds of the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE) through front companies. However, he has consistently maintained his innocence and denied the allegations.

But the investigation report submitted to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, by Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, found otherwise.

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Multiple sources at the Federal Ministry of Justice confirmed to THISDAY that Magu submitted the report to Malami last week.

The report includes draft charges the EFCC considered appropriate for the ex-SGF to face in the event the federal government decides to give him the opportunity to clear his name in the court of law.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on October 30 last year accepted the recommendations of the report of a panel, headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, which investigated allegations of corruption against Lawal and a former Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ayodele Oke.

According to the EFCC report, between November 2015 and November 2017, PINE received about N16.9 billion. Of this, at least 11.6 billion was supposedly spent mostly through contracts to fronts.

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The anti-corruption agency found that many of the contracts breached due process. It also discovered that many of the contractors were either fronts of Lawal or required to pay kickbacks to companies owned by him.

The main company that was allegedly used for this scam was Rholavision. EFCC matched up the ex-SGF’s Bank Verification Number (BVN) to the company account and found that he was the main signatory to the company account.

Over the two years, at least N566 million (about 5% of the total expenditure of PINE) over the period went to the account of Rholavision alone.

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