Again Suspended SGF Babachir Lawal Shuns Senate

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Suspended Secretary to Government  of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Babachir Lawal, yesterday, again failed to appear at the investigative hearing  of the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in the North-East, investigating the alleged  misappropriation of funds allocated to take care of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in the North-East.
The Shehu Sani-led committee had last December, in an interim report indicted Lawal for allegedly contravening the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007, and the Federal Government Financial Rules and Regulations on the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on North-East (PINE).
Lawal, who is currently being investigated by a three-man Presidential panel headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo over the allegation, was invited by the Red Chamber  to state his own side of the story.
Briefing journalists after waiting in vain for two hours, the committee expressed disappointment that Lawal failed to show up.
Sani said the committee would compile its report and submit to the Senate on Tuesday.
“The last time the committee invited him, the suspended SGF said we should give him more time because he was engaged in other official engagements and we thought that now that he is under suspension, he would have enough time to be here. We sent letters to his former office and his House, but the one for his house could not be delivered, the men at the gate turned back our messenger.
“Now, we are here since 10am waiting for him and its now 12. It is clear to us that he is not appearing…we would certainly go ahead and present our report on the floor of the Senate based on the fact and figures we have with us at our disposal.
“We believe that in the interest of fairness and justice, we should sacrifice time, but he is not here. We see this as deliberate choice to be absent from this hearing and we believe that the general public have seen how we all tried to give the man opportunity to defend himself publicly. This is a public hearing and we insisted that it should be open to all Nigerians to come and hear his own side of the story.”
A member of the committee, Ben Murray Bruce revealed that more incriminating information had been acquired by the committee against Lawal, which he was invited to defend.
“We know the implication of indicting a person. It goes to his records, his personality, his history and his legacy, and it is on the grounds of that we felt such an historical mark should be done with all fairness, and justice. We did that to the best of our ability, but since he has decided to stay away, we declare this a no show for him and that would not in anyway stop us from presenting our report on the floor of the senate, next week,” Sani said.

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