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$43.4 m, N200m probe: No decision yet on Lawal, Oke – Presidency

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By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
The Federal Government is yet to take any action on the report of the probe into the fraud allegation levelled against the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. David Babachir Lawal and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, Ambassador Ayo Oke, the Presidency said Sunday night.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal and Suspended Nigeria Intelligent Agency NIA Ayo Oke

Vanguard learnt that the delay in taking action as to recalling or sacking the two top federal officials might not be unconnected with the medical vacation of President Muhammadu Buhari, who was to act on it just before he jetted out of Nigeria for Britain last May.

It was learnt that although some recommendations were made on the two officials by the Panel chaired by Acting President Prof Yemi Osinbajo, the Presidency had opted to await the return of Buhari to unveil the decisions of the federal government regarding the two men so that Osinbajo might not be accused of acting on his own report.

A presidency sourc, confirmed to Vanguard Sunday night that there had been no decision yet on the two men and described reports on the matter as ‘mere speculations’.

“The Presidency has not released any verdict on the two men and what you are reading in the media are just speculations,” Akande said.

One of the reports said on Sunday that the panel recommended the immediate removal of both Lawal and Oke from office and replacement with others, whose names were not given by the authors.

It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had on April 19, 2017, suspended both men from office and raised a special investigation panel headed by Osinbajo, the National Security Adviser, General Babagana Monguno (rtd) and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, as members, to probe the fraud levelled against Lawal and the $43.4 million reportedly taken away from a Lagos apartment.

Babachir was investigated for allegedly awarding millions of naira contracts to a company in which he had interest, Global Vision Limited, under the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE).

A Senate Committee on Humanitarian Crisis in the North-East headed by Senator Shehu Sani, had earlier found the suspended SGF culpable of alleged complicity in a N200 million grass-cutting contract to clear “invasive plant species” in Yobe State, had demanded his resignation and prosecution.

On the other hand, Oke was interrogated by the panel over the huge cash discovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission at apartment 7B in Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos.

While appearing before the panel, Lawal denied any wrongdoing and claimed that the money, which was duly approved by former President Goodluck Jonathan for some covert operations, indeed belonged to the NIA.

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