EXCLUSIVE: The Petition, Other Indictments That May Have Sealed SGF Babachir’s Fate
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal and ordered for an investigation the allegations of violations of law and due process made against the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr David Babachir Lawal, in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE).
But while the statement by the Special Adviser to the president on Media and Publicity cited the allegations bothering on contract awards at PINE as the basis of his suspension, Abusidiqu has gathered there are more to the allegations levelled against the suspended SGF.
Documents obtained by Abusidiqu revealed that Babachir Lawal abused due process in the discharge of his duties as the SGF as contained in an open petition written by Comrade Usman Umar to the president.
The SGF amongst other functions coordinates the policy design and formulation by ministries, department and agencies for the approval of government. He also coordinates the appointment of the headship of statutory bodies and commissions following the regulations of the relevant ministries for the approval of the president.
But the discharge of these functions are exactly where Babachir Lawal has committed abuse of due process.
According to an open petition to the president, Babachir Lawal appointed Professor Jeffery Barminas, who is believed to be his preferred choice as the Director General for the National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NARICT), without following the process laid down for the appointment into such position by the Ministry of Science and Technology.
According to the procedure laid down by the ministry, vacancy for the position of the DG of NARICT must be advertised and interested candidates made to pass through an exam and interview following which names of the best is forwarded to the minister for onward transmission to the president for approval.
But Babachir Lawal sidelined the ministry, abandoned due process and single-handedly selected Professor Barminas for the position, thereby creating tension in the agency.
This prompted the petition by Comrade Usman Umar, drawing the attention of the president to the abuse of due process by the suspended SGF, Babachir Lawal.
Our source said the single-handed appointment of the DG of NARICT by Lawal is one out of many as he is in the habit of short-changing the process to nominate candidates of his personal interest into vacant positions in various agencies of government.
Incidences like this may have led to the jubilation at the All Progressives Congress secretariat, following the announcement of his suspension earlier today.
But apart from the petition by Usman Umar and several other infractions by the suspended SGF, the recommendation of Senate ad hoc committee on the humanitarian crisis in the north-east, which had investigated the management of funds for internally displaced persons in the region by the Presidential Initiative on the North-east (PINE) is said to have also hugely contributed to his suspension.
TheCable reports that Shehu Sani, chairman of the committee which probed Lawal, alleged that the SGF awarded contracts to companies belonging to cronies and relatives of top government officials.
He explained that the committee found out that Rholavision Engineering Limited, a company, with Lawal as director, for instance, was awarded a consultancy contract.
The company’s major role, according to him, was the removal of invasive plant species in Yobe state.
He added that PINE, which carried out the all procurement activities, violated the laid-down rules.
Sani also said most of the contracts awarded had no direct bearing or impact on the IDPs who were living in deplorable conditions.
Sani’s committee recommended that any public officer culpable of contravening any of the provisions of the procurement act, 2007 and the federal government financial rules and regulations pertaining to the award of contracts, should be duly prosecuted.
The committee also requested PINE to forward a detailed report of all contracts awarded by it to the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), as requested by section 43 (iv) of the Public Procurement Act, 2007.
The senate panel also demanded that contracts partially executed but fully paid for must be completed by the concerned contractors, or asked to refund the equivalent money of outstanding jobs to the government treasury.
The committee subsequently asked Babachir Lawal to immediately resign from office, failure of which President Muhammadu Buhari should effect his sack and prosecution.
Babachir Lawal however denied all the allegations levelled against him.
See the open petition by Usman Umar