PINE Fraud: SGF Snubs Senate Invitation

By Dipo Olowookere

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Babachir David Lawal, has refused to appear the Senate adhoc panel headed by Mr Shehu Sani.

Mr Lawal cited a court case on the matter as his reason for his inability to appear the lawmakers to give clarifications on the alleged fraud in the award of contract by the defunct Presidential Initiative on North East (PINE).

Following the indictment, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister for Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, to investigate the allegations against Mr Lawal, who was accused of using N270 million in clearing grasses in some communities in the North East as part of the programmes under the initiative.

After the AGF investigation, the SGF was cleared and the President in a letter dated January 24, 2017 communicated the outcome to the Senate.

Consequently, the ad-hoc panel re-invited Mr Lawal in a letter dated March 15, to appear before it today as part of efforts to give him fair hearing on the matter, a request the SGF turned down yesterday.

Mr Lawal, in a letter to Senator Sani, explained that he would not be able to appear before the committee because he had gone to court to challenge the invitation.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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