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EFCC arraigns Babachir, others for fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC ) has filed a 10-count charge at a Federal high court Abuja against former secretary to the government of the federation Babachir Lawal.

Lawal was charged alongside Hamidu David Lawal; Sulaiman Abubakar; Apeh Monday; Rholavision Engineering Limited, a company owned by him, and Josmon Technologies Limited.

It also filed four charges of alleged fraud against a former Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayodele Oke, and his wife, Folashade Oke.

Oke and his wife will be arraigned in court on Friday, while Lawal will be in court next week.

Nigeria’s President Muhammmadu Buhari sacked the former SGF in October 2017 for allegedly mismanaging the funds belonging to the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE) through disguised companies.

Lawal and Oke were suspended in April 2017 for their alleged complicit in separate corrupt practices.

A three-man committee comprising Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, National Security Adviser Mohammed Babagana Monguno and Attorney-General and Justice Minister Abubakar Malami was set up by President Buhari to investigate the allegations against the two men.

Lawal was grilled by the Osinbajo-led three-man Presidential panel over the N220 million meant for welfare of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in North-East, while Oke was suspended over the discovery of large amounts of foreign and local currencies by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a residential apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, over which NIA made a claim.

Buhari, who was elected in 2015 on a promise to tackle corruption, has come under fire since taking office for targeting political opponents.

The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party has accused him of a witch-hunt, as the overwhelming majority of those arrested and charged are PDP supporters or former ministers loyal to the opposition.

But the president maintained that his government has been fair in its anti-graft campaign.

The Lawal and Oke cases have been seen as a litmus test of his commitment to prosecuting graft, regardless of political allegiances.


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