At Last, EFCC Files Charges against Lawal, Oke


Alex Enumah in Abuja

The federal government has filed corruption charges against a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal.

Also, a separate charge was also filed against the former Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ayodele Oke, and his wife, Folashade, whose home millions of dollars belonging to the agency was found.

The charges were filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The acting spokesperson of the commission, Orilade Tony, confirmed the development last night.

While the anti-graft agency filed 10 counts charges against Lawal before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja, Oke and wife were charged at the Federal High Court in Lagos.

Oke and his wife will be arraigned in court tomorrow, while Lawal will be in court next week.
Others charged alongside the former SGF are Hamidu David Lawal; Sulaiman Abubakar; Apeh Monday; Rholavision Engineering Limited, a company owned by him, and Josmon Technologies Limited.

In the charge dated January 30 and filed same day, Lawal 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 the former SGF in the award of contract to the two companies linked to him.

It filed four counts against Oke and his wife, Folashade, before the Federal High Court, in Lagos.
They were charged over a huge sum of money found in an apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos.

The charges against Lawal and Oke are coming over 15 months after they were sanctioned by the president.
Lawal was removed from office after he was indicted by a Senate committee which investigated the management of money meant to assist persons displaced by Boko Haram.

Lawal was indicted for using his companies to get contracts worth millions of naira without executing the contracts.

Since his removal in 2017 by President Muhammadu Buhari, many Nigerians have called for his prosecution.
Last week, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo announced that Buhari had directed that charges be filed against Lawal and Oke.

Lawal has since his exit been a major campaigner for President Buhari’s re-election in his home state, Adamawa.
Lawal’s travails began on December 14, 2016, when the Senate ad-hoc committee on “mounting humanitarian crisis in the north-east” indicted him of fraud in a contract awarded for the clearing of “invasive plant species” in Yobe State, through the Presidential Initiative on Northeast (PINE).

PINE, which was under Lawal, was at the time unable to account for N2.5 billion allocated to it for the alleviation of the IDPs’ suffering.

Lawal’s crime, according to the ad-hoc committee, included his alleged spending of N570m to cut grass.
Rholavision Engineering Ltd was also said to have got suspicious payments of N200million from the contract.
Rholavision’s bank statements and other documents were alleged to have shown how Josmon Technologies Limited, a company that got the contract from PINE to clear grass for N248,939,231, made cash deposits of N10million into Lawal’s company’s account 20 times from March 29.

Although the former SGF had claimed that he resigned from his company on August 15, 2015, and as a result was not a party to whatever business it contracted, sources had revealed that from a document from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) that he was a director of Rholavision until September 16, 2016, when he wrote to the commission informing it of his intention to relinquish 1,500,000 ordinary shares.