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I am happy with my ongoing probe by the EFCC, says sacked SGF, Babachir Lawal

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BABACHIR Lawal, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, says he is happy with the ongoing probe by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) into the allegations that led to his sack by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Lawal, in his first interview since his removal, described himself as an “innocent man”,adding that he was satisfied with the probe as it would unravel the truth.

“I like it (the investigation by the EFCC). In fact, I had always wanted the EFCC to be involved because the EFCC has the capacity both in terms of equipment and personnel to get to the truth,” Lawal said in the interview on Channels Television.

On how he has managed to remain a close ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, despite having been removed from office, he said: “If the president were to be my brother, does it mean we cease to be brothers because I am being investigated by the EFCC? A relationship breaks because of a false accusation against an innocent man?”

Lawal’s case, however, is not a mere accusation like he claimed.

It was the Senate ad-hoc committee on mounting humanitarian crisis in the North East, headed by Shehu Sani, that first indicted Lawal, who was the head of the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE), of abuse of office and misappropriation of funds.

Sani said Lawal had awarded contracts running into hundreds of millions of naira to his own company, contrary to the regulations guiding public procurement. The contract awards were said to be for the removal of invasive plant species along the Lake Chad Basin.

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Though Lawal denied any wrongdoing, he refused to honour several summons by the Senate to come and state his side of the story.

Later, when the matter got to the presidency, Buhari suspended Lawal and appointed a three-member committee, headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, to investigate the matter and make appropriate recommendations.

It was based on the recommendations of the committee, which also had Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation, and Babagana Monguno, the National Security Adviser, as members, that Buhari fired Lawal in October, 2017.

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