Sack, prosecute Babachir Lawal over IDP funds, Senate tells Buhari

Sack, prosecute Babachir Lawal over IDP funds, Senate tells Buhari
December 15 20:23 2016

… ‘Its all nonsense’, SGF reacts

The Senate on Wednesday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to sack and ensure the prosecution of embattled Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, over his alleged involvement in the mismanagement of IDP funds.

The Senate’s resolution on Wednesday followed presentation of the report on the humanitarian crisis in the north-east by an ad hoc committee

According to the report of the committee headed by Senator Shehu Sani, Global Vision Ltd, a company owned by the SGF allegedly benefitted from several contracts awarded by the Presidential Initiative on Northeast.

The committee added that some of the contracts were either inflated, non-existent or not executed.

The firm was said to have been awarded over N200 million contract to clear ‘invasive plant specie’ in Yobe State.

The committee found that as of the time the contract was awarded in March 2016,  Lawal was still the director of Global Vision and that he did not resign until September.

Sani, who presented the report on the floor of the Senate, said as at the time he was presenting the report, Lawal was still a signatory to the company’s account.

This, the Senators agreed, was in contravention of the code of conduct for political appointees.

Global Vision was incorporated in 1990 to carry out ICT services; but it received contract to clear grass in 2016 even while the owner is senior government official, the lawmakers found.

“Babachir Lawal is a disgrace to the All Progressives Congress. He is exhibiting anti-Buhari tendency,” Senator Dino Melaye said.

He led the call for Lawal’s removal and trial.

Also, Isah Misau (APC-Bauchi) said Lawal should resigned immediately or be suspended and prosecuted.

Misau said the Buhari administration was having challenges with performance delivery “because of people like the SGF”. He said the SGF was the one responsible for non-constitution of many boards of the federal government.

He urged the President to sack and ensure prosecution of the SGF to prove the seriousness of his anti-corruption campaign.

“Without the prosecution of the SGF, this anti-corruption fight will go nowhere,” he said.

That of SGF was one the numerous scams uncovered by the report, said Adeola Olamilekan (APC-Lagos). He said Lawal should resign and be prosecuted.

Sani’s report revealed that the Presidential Initiative for the North East took advantage of the emergency situation to award fraudulent contracts; and also that the realities in the Internally Displaced Persons camps did not commensurate with funds released.

The Senate therefore resolved that PINE should turn in all documents pertaining to contracts it had awarded, and that all government officials, apart from Lawal, found to have contravened law in the processes of the contracts should be prosecuted.

The Senate also asked the Federal Ministry of Health to immediately deploy its personnel to the IDP camps to support the international humanitarian crisis managers and military hospitals in the north-east.

It also asked the federal government and state governments in the north-east to ensure an end to acute food shortage in the IDPs camps; and that infrastructures in the recaptured villages and towns be rebuilt so that IDPs can go back to their homes

The SGF however described calls for his resignation and prosecution as ‘balderdash and absolute nonsense’

A visibly angry Lawal said this later on Wednesday while speaking to journalists shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari presented 2017 budget proposal to a joint session of the National Assembly.

Though the SGF did not give details of his defence, he said all the allegations were meant to rubbish him.