Alleged Corruption:Two Months After, Buhari Keeps ‘Mum’ About Babachir, Oke’s Fate

LAGOS OCTOBER 8TH (NEWSRANGERS)-After two months of receiving the probe report bothering on allegations leveled against the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal and sums of foreign and local currencies traced to the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency(NIA) Ayodele Oke, President Muhammadu Buhari appears not to have settled for what to do with the two officials.
 But the development is already raising some concerns even as it leaves the fate of the two top government officials hanging on the brim.
Also, anxiety is rising over government’s apparent ineptitude over some issues of national importance, a development that is gradually making the citizens to lose confidence in government.
 However, the presidency has attributed the delays to the bulky nature of the investigative report, which is about six volumes, the investigation was handled by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo,the National Security Adviser, Babagana Mungunu as well as Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
 Sunday NDEPENDENT sought to know why nothing has been done about the report two months after the President took receipt of the document, but Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity  simply responded that Buhari is still studying the document and he is expected to issue an executive summary soonest.
 He however failed to state in categorical terms when the executive summary would be issued by the President, even as he added that no one could preempt the President on the matter.
“The report has been submitted to the President and he is considering it, if you see the original report its in six volumes but then there would be an executive summary but knowing the President as a very meticulous person, I believe he would study everything so we would wait for him to finish and then whatever is the final decision would be conveyed to Nigerians,” he had told our reporter.
Asked how soon this would be, Adesina responded saying, “no you don’t preempt the president, when a decision is to be conveyed to Nigerians it will be conveyed.”
 Buhari received the report of the probe panel set up to investigate allegations leveled against Babachir and Oke on August 23, 2017 shortly after he returned from his medical vacation in United Kingdom (UK).
 Buhari had on April 19, 2017 bowed to pressure to up his anti-corruption war by sacking the SGF over allegations of violation of law and due process made against him in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on North East, PINE.
 On the part of the NIA, DG, Buhari was dismayed when he learnt of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) discovery of large sums of money in a residential apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos which Ayodele Oke laid claims to owning at the time.
 Buhari, had shortly before embarking on his medical vacation to London where he spent a total of 104 days mandated the three-man probe panel to enquire into the circumstances in which the NIA came into possession of the funds, how and by whose or which authority the funds were made available to the 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.
But sources within the presidency believe the two high profile officials in Buhari’s government may not survive the sledge hammer after the President must have gone through the voluminous report.
 They also allege that if for any reason Buhari may use the two public officials as scapegoats to re-echo his administration’s stance for zero tolerance on corruption and to serve as deterrent to others.
 Their suspension came as a surprise as both officials never had a prior knowledge of Buhari’s intentions.
The SGF learnt of his suspension while he was still having a meeting with the Vice President that fateful day.
Oke, on hearing of his suspension had hurried to the Presidential Villa to see if he could salvage the situation but by the time he got there he was faced with a barrage of media men waiting to catch a glimpse of him.
 Although there have  been various controversies surrounding the NIA funds, several sources have also alleged that former President Goodluck Jonathan was believed to have used the NIA to divert the funds for his 2015 electoral campaigns.
 According to a reliable source, President Jonathan had approved $289million or more in November 2014 which was in excess of the approved budget for the agency, but the excess was intended to be used as campaign funds but the NIA failed to disburse the funds for the purpose for which it was meant for.
 Trouble actually started for Babachir after the 8th Senate on October 4, 2016, debated a motion on the “mounting humanitarian crisis in the Northeast”.
 The motion prompted the setting up of an ad-hoc committee to investigate the matter.
 The committee was headed by Senator Shehu Sani with a clear mandate to conduct a public hearing to ascertain how much has been released to the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE).
 The committee was also to ascertain how the funds had been utilised from inception as well as to investigate alleged diversion of grains and other food items from the Strategic Grain Reserves, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other sources for the IDPs.
 The committee held a three-day public hearing between December 6 and 8, 2016. But some invited stakeholders, including Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) Lawal, failed to attend the investigative hearing.
 They later went ahead to release what it called interim report, indicting the SGF who said he was not given fair hearing. It recommended the SGF’s sack on account of awarding contracts to a firm, Rholavision Engineering Limited, in which he had a stake.
 A firm allegedly linked to Lawal was said to have been awarded over N230 million contract to clear “invasive plant specie” in Yobe State.
 The committee found that as of the time the contract was awarded last March, Lawal was still Rholavision’s director and that he only resigned in September.
 According to the Senate, Lawal’s directorship of the firm while being a public official contravened the Code of Conduct for public officials as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution.
The lawmakers found that the company was incorporated in 1990 to carry out ICT services; but it received the contract to clear grass in 2016 even while the owner is a senior government official.
 Hours after the Senate indicted him and called on authorities to punish him, Lawal accompanied President Buhari to the National Assembly to present the 2017 budget proposal.
After the presentation, Lawal told journalists that the Senate was only victimising him and trying to “rubbish” his personality.
“The Senate is talking balderdash; it has developed the habit of bring-him-down syndrome. I have the report of the Senate committee in which it was said that I didn’t resign from Rholavision Nigeria Limited. Let me tell you, Rholavision was formed by me in December 1990, and it has been a company that was run very successfully”.
 Although both officials have stayed clear of government circles since their suspension, they too may be eagerly waiting on the President to take decisive action on the matter so as to carry on with their future endeavors.
Daily Independent

News Rangers

Short URL:

Posted by on Oct 8 2017. Filed under State. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

Photo Gallery

Designed by News Rangers ICT Department