Corruption: Osinbajo panel submits report tomorrow
*Buhari laments NASS neglect of anti-graft bill
The Presidential Committee investigating suspended Secretary to the Government of the General of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ayo Oke, is set to round up its assignment and submit its report to President Muhammadu Buhari tomorrow (Wednesday).
The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, who is a member of the committee headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, dropped the hint on Tuesday while speaking to State House correspondents after he met with Buhari at the State House, Abuja. The Minister declined to reveal if the report would be shielded from the public on grounds of national security as suggested by some prominent Nigerians.
He said it would be “it will be preemptive” for him to reveal such, besides the fact the report is a collective effort that will be presented to Buhari who has the final say on it. Aside Osinbajo and Malami, the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, is also a member of the three-man committee Buhari raised on April 19, 2017 with a 14-day deadline to turn in a report. Lawal came under investigated for allegedly breaching due process and enabling grass cutting contract awards of the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE) to his companies, while Oke was quizzed to explain the $43 million he claimed belonged to the NIA but were recently found by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a posh private residence in Ikoyi, Lagos.
According to Malami, “you know the presidential committee that is investigating the NIA and the SGF is supposed to make submission by tomorrow. “So, it is preemptive now to discuss anything considering the fact that the committee is under the chairmanship of the Vice President who is supposed to brief the president in that respect and the schedule for the committee’s assignment has not elapsed. “So, it will be pre-emptive to speak about the committee because the time fixed for the assignment has not elapsed and against the background of the fact that it is the chairman of the committee that should brief the president.”
The Minister described his visit as routine as a routine briefing of the president as it relates to general issues, particularly with regard to anti-corruption. He said that during the briefing, Buhari expressed worry that anti-graft bills he sent to the National Assembly have been virtually abandoned by the lawmakers, and that discussions centred on to deal with the development. His words: “Mr. President is worried that anti-corruption bills are pending before the National Assembly over time; there has not been any expeditious determination on the passage of the bills. “The assets management agency was also part of the discussion.
Mr. President is worried that the assets that have been gathered over time by the agencies of government that are responsible for the fight against corruption are scattered all over the place. “They are embedded in the Proceeds of Crime Bill and Asset Management Agency which is the agency put in place by the presidency for the purpose of the management of the assets that are recovered. “So, Mr. President is indeed worried and the discussions bordered on how best we can handle it.”
Another major issue he discussed with the president concerned parastatals under the Ministry of Justice, including the Electoral Reform Committee that submitted its report to Malami earlier in the day. “I equally briefed Mr. President on that and in addition to the report, there are bills that have been presented for the consideration of the Federal Executive Council as they relate to amendment to the electoral process.
“The whole essence of the meeting was to seek the view of Mr. President and the direction as to what to do next as it relates to the Electoral Reform Committee report that has been submitted and to consider routine processes under the Ministry of Justice”, the Minister added.