…Osinbajo Probe Panel Gets Cracking, Grills NIA DG

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• SGF expected Tuesday

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

For several hours on Monday, the suspended Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ayo Oke, appeared before the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo-led committee probing allegations of financial impropriety against the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir David Lawal, and the discovery of N13.3 billion discovered in Ikoyi Towers by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Oke was suspended and is being investigated over his claim that the huge sum belonged to NIA.
The three-man committee set up by President Muhammadu Buhari on April 19, following his suspension, was tasked to investigate “how and by whose or which authority the funds were made available to NIA, and to establish whether or not there has been a breach of the law or security procedure in obtaining custody and use of the funds”.

On the other hand, Lawal is being investigated over the management of Presidential Initiative on North-east (PINE) contract awards in his capacity as SGF.

He had been alleged to have awarded a N220 million tree-cutting contract to his company, Rholavision Engineering Limited, in contravention of public sector rules barring government officials from awarding contracts to companies in which they have an interest.

If the committee is satisfied with the probe of Oke on Monday, Lawal may appear before it on Tuesday to explain all he knew about the management of humanitarian crisis in the North-east by PINE which he chaired.

Monday’s meeting, which was held behind closed-doors at the vice-president’s wing of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, began in the early hours of the day and was still in session at press time.
Oke’s appearance before the committee on Monday marked the second time he formally appeared before it for investigation, having done so last Friday.

The committee had at the weekend announced that it would discharge its duty without any fear or favour.
The committee, which also pledged to conduct its assignment with utmost diligence and turn in its report within 14 days as scheduled, also said it would invite all relevant persons under its terms of reference for questioning.

THISDAY learnt on Monday that the committee would meet everyday from Monday to Friday until it concludes its assignment.
Other members of the committee are the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), and the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-General Babagana Monguno (rtd.).