Finally, FG Files Charges against Babachir, Oke

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Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Federal Government on Wednesday finally filed corruption charges against a former Secretary of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, and a former Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ayodele Oke.

Also charged alongside Lawal and Oke, are Mrs. Folashade Oke, wife of the former NIA DG, Director of Rholavision Engineering Ltd, Hamidu David Lawal; a staff of the company, Sulaiman Abubakar, and Managing Director of Josmon Technologies Ltd., Apeh Monday.

While the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC ) slammed a 10 count criminal charge against Lawal and four others including his company, it filed four charges against Oke and his wife.

In the charge dated January 30 and filed same day, Babachair was accused of conspiring to commit an offence to wit: fraudulent acquisition of property, and indirectly holding private interest in award of contracts.

The others were however charged with abetting, holding indirectly of a private Interest by Engineer Babachir David Lawal in the award of contract to the two companies.

Count 7 of the charge read: “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 4‘” of March, 2016 at Abuja in the Abuja Judicial Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory did knowingly hold indirectly a private interest in the contract awarded to Josmon Technologies Ltd but executed by Rholavision Engineering Ltd for the removal of invasive plant species and simplified irrigation to the tune of N272,524,356.02 (Two Hundred and Seventy Two Million, Five Hundred and Twenty Four 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.”

Count 9 reads: “That you Hamidu David Lawal being a Director of Rholavision Engineering Ltd, Sulaiman Abubakar being a staff of Rholavision Engineering Ltd, Apeh Monday John being the Managing Director of Josmon Technologies Ltd and Rholavision Engineering Ltd on or about the 4′” of March, 2016 at Abuja in the Abuja Judicial Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory did abet the holding indirectly of a private Interest by Engineer Babachir David Lawal in the award of contract to Josmon Technologies Ltd for the removal of Invasive plant species and simplified irrigation by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) through the Presidential Initiative for North East (PINE) to the tune of N272,524,356.02 (Two Hundred and Seventy Two Million, Five Hundred and Twenty Four Thousand, Three Hundred and Fifty Six Naira and Two Kobo only) which Rholavision Engineering Ltd executed and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 26 (1) (c) of the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 12 of the same Act.

An ad-hoc committee of the Senate on mounting humanitarian crisis in the north-east had in December 2016 indicted Babachlr for fraud in a contract awarded for the clearing of “invasive plant species” in Yobe state, through the Presidential Initiative on Northeast (PINE).

The ad-hoc committee, chaired by Senator Shehu Sani alleged that PINE spent several millions of naira to cut grass.

Rholavision Engineering Ltd was said to have received suspicious payments of N200m from the contract.

Following the allegations, President Muhammadu Buhari had in October 2017, sacked Babachair from office and announced the appointment of the current SGF, Boss Mustapha.

While Babachir and his co accused would be arraigned before a High Court of the FCT, Oke and his wife would be arraigned before a Lagos High Court.