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Grass-cutting contract: Senate c’ttee’s final report indicts Babachir Lawal

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..Links his firm to another N500m suspicious payment
..Urges other agencies of govt to probe him

By Henry Umoru

ABUJA— THE Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in the North-East, yesterday, laid its final report, which indicted suspended Secretary to Government of the Federation, SGF, David Babachir Lawal.

The 45-page report, which will be discussed by senators today, was submitted by the committee chairman, Senator Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna Central).

The committee specifically recommended that the banks’ transactions of Rholavision Engineering Limited and the confirmation of Central Bank of Nigeria indicated that Babachir Lawal was still the signatory to Rholavision Engineering Limited accounts and 13 other accounts, some with different names.

It noted that Lawal contravened the provision of Part 1 of the Fifth Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended); Public Procurement Act 2007 and breached the Oaths of Office as Secretary to the Government of the Federation and should be prosecuted by the relevant authorities.

Links his firm to another N500m suspicious payment

Babachir David Lawal

In the report, the committee also linked fresh suspicious payment to the tune of N500 million and recommended  further investigation by relevant agencies of government on why contract benefitting companies paid over N500 million into Rholavision Engineering Limited, a company Lawal had interest in.

The recommendations read in part: “That since it was observed that there was no bill of quantities on the contracts awarded by PINE under emergency situation, the Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, should undertake a revaluation of all such contracts to recover any proceeds from over-inflated contracts;

“That the relevant agencies should ensure that contracts partially executed but fully paid for must be completed by the concerned contractors, or asked to refund the equivalent money of outstanding jobs to government treasury;

“That all resources that have been misapplied or stolen by public officials should be retrieved and anybody found culpable of contravening any of the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007 and the Federal Government Financial Rules and Regulations pertaining to the award of these contracts, should be duly prosecuted by the relevant authorities;

“That the committee also recommends further investigation by relevant agencies of government on why contract benefitting companies paid over N500 million into Rholavision Engineering Limited, a company Engr. Babachir David Lawal has interest.”

The 45-page report was signed by seven of the nine members, including the chairman, Senator Shehu Sani; Senator Ben Murray Bruce (PDP, Bayelsa East); Senator Oluremi Tinubu (APC, Lagos Central); Senator Ali Wakil (APC, Bauchi South); Senator Theodore Orji (PDP, Abia); Senator Tayo Alasoadura (APC, Ondo Central) and Senator Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi), as well as the Clerk, Lawal Barau Bungudu.

Of the nine members, only Senators Mohammed Hassan (PDP, Yobe South) and Adeola Olamilekan (APC, Lagos West) did not sign the report.

It would be recalled that David Lawal Babachir last Thursday, refused to appear before the Senate Ad-hoc Committee.

He was summoned by the committee to appear before it for questioning over funds allocated to Internally Displaced Persons, IDP, in the North East.

The suspended SGF is also being investigated by a three-man presidential panel, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

He was suspended by the President two weeks ago to allow the panel carry out its investigation.

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