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Why we are yet to prosecute ex-SGF Lawal – EFCC

By The Nigerian Voice
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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday said it was still investigating the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Babachir Lawal, and would act based on the outcome of the probe.

Spokesperson of the agency, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, said this on Tuesday during the Channels Forum which brought together experts and policymakers to discuss key issues in the country.

This comes amid questions about the fate of the former SGF who was fired after being indicted for corruption and investigated for the same.

Critics of President Muhammadu Buhari have argued that the failure to prosecute Mr Lawal and other people close to his administration or in his party, the APC, hurts his much-talked-about anti-corruption war.

At the forum, a former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Mr Chidi Odinkalu, brought up the issue, while explaining why he believes the fight against corruption has been discredited.

“If the [now former] Secretary to the Government of the Federation has been investigated by the vice president, the national security adviser and the attorney-general of the federation on the basis of which the President has fired him and you are telling me that that is not authoritative enough to send him to court, there is a problem.”

The EFCC spokesperson who confirmed that “the case involving the former secretary to the government of the federation has been investigated by at least two panels before now”, explained that it had not been forgotten.

“The matter is on the table of the EFCC,” he said. “We are currently doing our investigation and at the end of our investigation, if we have credible evidence to take him to court, we will take him to court.”

Babachir Lawal was removed by President Muhammadu Buhari on October 30, 2017 following allegations that he diverted aid funds intended for the humanitarian crisis in the North-east Nigeria.

The Senate had accused Lawal of violation of due process in award of contracts under Presidential Initiatives on North East (PINE).

A 45-page report submitted by the Committee Chairman, Senator Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna Central), revealed that contractors paid over N500m in kickbacks to a company linked Lawal.

He was also accused of using his company Rholavision Engineering Ltd to corner a N200 million contract for the clearing of “evasive plant species’’ in Yobe.