EFCC charges ex-SGF over N554m grass cutting scandal

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Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress

 

By Adesoba Toluwalope.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday has charged a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, before an Abuja High Court of grass cutting contract.

Lawal entered a fresh pale of not guilty to a modified Court Charge lodged by the EFCC against him and others. He served as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) under President Muhammadu Buhari from August 27, 2015 to October 30, 2017.

Others charged alongside Lawal are; younger brother to the former SGF, Hamidu Lawal, Suleima Abubakar; Apeh Monday, and two companies named Rholavion Engineering Ltd and Josman Technologies ltd.

The Defendants who pleaded not guilty to the alleged charge that was read before trial judge, Justice Charles Agbaza, begged the court to hold on to the bail conditions earlier handed to them. The defendants were initially docked before the court on February 12, 2019.

The trial however, had proceeded with EFCC producing witnesses, before Justice Okeke’s death on August 4, 2020. The re-arraignment on Monday followed the demise of the deceased Judge, Justice Jude Okeke.

Late Justice Okeke had on February 13, 2019 granted the defendants bail to the tune of #50m each, with the presence of surety.

Some of the counts in the charge marked CR/158/19; read:

“That You Engineer Babachir David Lawal while being the secretary to the Government of the Secretary of the Federation (SGF) and a director of Rholavision Engineering Ltd, on or about the 7th of March, 2016 at Abuja in the Abuja division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory did knowingly hold indirectly a private interest in the consultancy contract awarded to Rholavison Engineering Ltd for the removal of invasive plant species and simplified irrigation to the tune of #7,009,515.96 (Seven million, Nine thousand, five hundred and fifteen Naira and Ninety Six Kobo only) by the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) through the Presidential initiative for North East (PINE) and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 12 of the corrupt practices and other Related Offences Act, 2000.

“That You Engineer Babachir David Lawal while being the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and a director of Rholavision Engineering Ltd on or about the 4th of March, 2016 at Abuja in the Abuja Judicial Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory and knowingly hold indirectly a private interest in the contract awarded to Josman Technologies, Ltdbbut executed by Rholavision Engineering Ltd for the removal of invasive plants and simplifies irrigation to the tune of #272,524,356.02 (Two hundred and seventy two million, five hundred and twenty for thousand, three hundred and fifty six naira and two kobo only) by the office of the secretary to the Government of the federation (OSGF) through the Presidential Initiative for North East (PINE) and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 12 of the corrupt practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.”

“That You Engineer Babachir David Lawal being the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and a director of Rholavision Engineering Ltd on or about the 22nd August, 2016 at Abuja in the Abuja Judicial Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory did knowingly hold indirectly a private executed by Rholavision Engineering Ltd for removal of invasive plant and simplified irrigation to the tune of #258,132,735.00 (Two hundred and fifty eight million, one hundred and thirty two thousand, seven hundred and thirty five thousand naira only) by the office of the secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) through the Presidential Initiative for North East (PINE) and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 12 of the Corrupt practices and other Related Offences Acts, 2000.”

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