Friday

Senate Hits Back at SGF Lawal and Insists on His Prosecution Over Alleged Corruption

 
Senators on Thursday lambasted the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, after he said the call by the Senate for his removal and prosecution was absolute 'nonsense'.
 
Mr. Lawal told journalists 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,” he said.
 
“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.
 
“Now, when I was appointed secretary to the government of the federation, I resigned from that company on 18th August 2015. I can see that in their report, they are talking about 2016. I don’t know where they got their facts.
 
“By the way, it is very instructive that when the committee was sitting, no effort was ever made to invite me to come and make submission. It is therefore, surprising that they devoted a whole session of today (Wednesday) at maligning me, claiming what is not true without even giving me the chance to come and put my own case before them.” Lawal said
 
It would be recalled that the Senate had on Wednesday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend Mr. Lawal after he was indicted over alleged breach of Nigerian laws in handling contracts awarded by the Presidential Initiative for the North East, (PINE).
 
Lawal was said to have received N233 million contract to clear invasive plant species in Yobe State through a company, Rholavision Nigeria Limited.
 
This was revealed in a report by an ad-hoc committee of the Senate on “mounting humanitarian crisis in the North East” led by Shehu Sani  which submitted its interim report on Wednesday.
 
Lawal who was also accused of breaching of Nigeria’s code of conduct for public officials as enshrined in the 1999 constitution after he remained a director of the company till September 2016, over a year after his appointment.
 
It was found out that his company Rholavision (information and communication technology services) incorporated in 1990 by Mr. Lawal, handled the N233 million bush clearing contract in the North East in 2016.
 
The Senate wondered how an ICT company could be given such contract which is not within its purview. The Yobe State Government said the contract was never executed.
 
However, the Senate has insisted that President Muhammad Buhari act on their decision as they want Lawal suspened. Dino Melaye brought the matter up on Thursday at the Senate, saying his privilege and that of his colleagues were breached by Mr. Lawal.
 
Mr. Saraki said the Senate had played its role of exposing Mr. Lawal and that the onus was now on the executive “in a government that is fighting corruption” to do the needful.
 
“But I know Nigerians are watching,” said Mr. Saraki, adding that the Senate would directly communicate its resolutions that Mr. Lawal should be suspended and prosecuted to the President.
 
The chairman of the committee that indicted Mr. Lawal, Mr. Sani (APC-Kaduna), has revealed that Mr. Lawal lied in the claims he made saying that the committee did not invite him to clear himself.
 
Speaking to Premium Times, Sani said: “We invited him but he sent a representative."
 
Explaining how they got the fact that Lawal was a director in the company till sometime in 2016, Sani said: “we got to know from the Corporate Affairs Commission (that he held directorship till September 2016).

“We wrote the Corporate Affairs Commission and they supplied us the information.”
 
The Senate has promised to reveal more revelations when they resume next year.

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