The Federal Government has commenced its investigation of allegations of graft against the erstwhile Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr David Babachir Lawal, and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ayo Oke.
The probe comes on the heels of President Muhammadu Buhari’s deft move on Wednesday to revive his waning war against corruption by dropping the two top government officials suspected of wrong-doing.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the Chairman of the probe panel, met yesterday with some senior security chiefs and other government officials as he stepped up the investigation into the corruption allegations against Lawal and Oke.
The other members of the panel are the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno.
The suspended duo of Lawal and Oke appeared before the panel on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa to give their evidence – behind closed doors.
Other top government officials and security chief who appeared before the panel yesterday were the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, and the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura.
The panel also met with the two officials appointed to act in place of Lawal and Oke during the period of their suspension.
These are Ambassador Arab Yadam as the acting DG of the NIA and Dr Habibat Lawal, the acting SGF.
Also at the Villa was the Ag. Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, whose agency uncovered the stash of cash hidden in Ikoyi, Lagos.
Magu said he was at the Villa for a meeting of the Assets Recovery Committee, which had been sitting long before the current probe panel. He did not clarify if the latest stash of cash uncovered by his commission has also come under the purview of the Assets Recovery Committee.
After the meeting with Osinbajo, the DSS boss and the Attorney-General of the Federation proceeded for another meeting with Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari.
Meanwhile, Adamawa State Governor, Jibrila Bindow, was also seen at the Presidential Villa, although it was not immediately ascertained if he met with Osinbajo or the Chief of Staff to President.
It is believed that the governor’s visit may not be unconnected with the suspension and travail of the SGF who hails from Adamawa State.
Lawal and Oke were suspended by the Presidency on Wednesday – pending an investigation into the cases against them.
Buhari suspended Lawal following allegations of misappropriation of funds levelled against him in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE).
Lawal is alleged to be involved in the award of a dubious contract of N250 million for grass cutting in the Northeast – to companies related to him.
Similarly, the erstwhile DG of the NIA, Ambassador Oke, is to explain how a huge stash of cash in local and hard currencies was recently found by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a posh private residence in Ikoyi, Lagos.
The NIA boss reportedly claimed that the money, totalling over N15 billion, was owned by the agency. Oke is to explain the circumstances in which the NIA came into possession of the funds, how and by whose or which authority the funds were made available to the NIA, etc. Several other interested parties are also reportedly laying claims to the money.
The Osinbajo Committee is to submit its report to the President within 14 days.