The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has detained the immediate past Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, for alleged fraud to the tune of N223m, The PUNCH can confirm.
It was learnt that Lawal arrived at the Abuja office of the EFCC around 11am on Wednesday after which he was detained.
When contacted on the telephone, the acting spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Samin Amaddin, confirmed Lawal’s arrest.
He said, “It is true. The former SGF honoured an invitation and arrived at our office around 11am on Wednesday. He was thereafter detained.”
Lawal’s detention comes less than three months after he was sacked by President Muhammadu Buhari for financial impropriety and less than 24 hours after former President Olusegun Obasanjo described the anti-corruption war as one-sided.
The EFCC is probing Lawal for alleged contract scandal, violation of Public Procurement Act, abuse of office and mismanagement of funds.
It was learnt that the former SGF was brought before a special team of investigators set up by the acting Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu.
After being grilled for about eight hours, he was asked to remain in custody after which interrogations will continue on Thursday (today).
Two separate committees headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and the Senate Ad hoc Committee had last year recommended the prosecution of all those involved in the alleged contract scam in the Presidential Initiative in the North-East headed by Lawal.
Among other things, the ex-SGF, who is the prime suspect, was accused of awarding a N223m consultancy contract for the removal of invasive plant species in Komadugu, Yobe Water Channels to his company, Rholavision Engineering in contravention of Section 43(iii) and (iv) of the Public Procurement Act 2007.
The firm was said to have been incorporated by Lawal in 1990 for the purpose of ICT services and not for agro-business.
The contracts awarded by PINE allegedly had no direct bearing to the needs of the Internally Displaced Persons
The former SGF was said to be a director of the same firm till September 2016 when the contract was allegedly awarded.