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15 months after, EFCC files charges against Babachir Lawal, Ayo Oke

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THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed separate corruption charges against the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, and the former Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ayodele Oke.

The development is coming more than 15 months after both officials were ousted from office by President Muhammadu Buhari in October 2017.

Lawal was charged alongside his company, Rholavision Engineering Limited, and three others, namely: Hamidu David Lawal; Sulaiman Abubakar; and Apeh Monday. Another company, Josmon Technologies Limited was also joined in the 10-count charge.

A senate ad-hoc committee, headed by Shehu Sani, accused Lawal of breaching public procurement regulations when he, as chairman of the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE) awarded dubious contracts running into hundreds of millions of naira to a company that he owns.

But Lawal denied the allegation, saying that he had long resigned his directorship of the company before taking up the appointment as SGF.

But following a public outcry, President Buhari set up a three-man panel, headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to investigate the issue. It was the Osinbajo panel that recommended that Lawal should be removed from office.

Lawal was briefly arrested by the EFCC in January 2018 but was later released on administrative bail.

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Ayo Oke, for his part, was accused of complicity in the huge amount of money that was discovered by the EFCC in a residential luxury apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos State.

Oke claimed that the money totalling $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23,218,000, belongs to the NIA and was approved for the agency for some “major but covert security projects” by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The money discovered by the EFCC in a residential apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos.

The EFCC had said that the operation leading to the recovery of the huge cash was based on intelligence received from a whistleblower.

Oke, together with his wife, was charged with a four-count charge of money laundering and abuse of office. They will be arraigned before Justice Aneke of the Federal High Court in Lagos on February 1, 2019, while Babachir Lawal will be facing his trial at the Federal Capital Territory High Court.

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