EFCC presents first witness against Babachir Lawal, five others
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has called it’s first witness in the ongoing criminal case against a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, and five others before Justice Jude Okeke of a Federal Capital Territory High Court, Maitama.
The Commission had on March 18, 2018, re-arraigned Lawal alongside his younger brother, Hamidu Lawal, Suleiman Abubakar, Apeh Monday and two companies, Rholavision Engineering Ltd and Josmon Technologies Ltd, on an amended 10-count charge bordering on fraud, diversion of funds and criminal conspiracy to the tune of over N500 million.
At the resumed session on Thursday, the prosecution counsel, Mr Ufom Uket informed the court that “today is for hearing”.
Uket Proceeded to call his first witness, Hamza Adamu who was a deputy director, Finance and Account with the Presidential Initiative for North East (PINE) in 2017.
Adamu told the court that he was responsible for all payments made by PINE to consultants, contractors, and staff.
He confirmed to the court that the sixth defendant (Josmon Technologies Ltd) won the contract for the removal of invasive plant species and simplified irrigation.
Adamu said that 95% payment was approved for Josmon Technologies Ltd after completing a large part of the job.
“After almost completing the job, they (the fifth and sixth defendants) demanded payment.
“The consultant issued a certificate and approved 95% payment. It was sent to me for payment.
“I raised a request for payment and sent it to the permanent secretary special service office, approval was granted and payment was made.”
He said instead of N258m which is 95%, only N225m was approved due to insufficient funds.
N203m was paid directly to the contractors after N11.5m was deducted for tax.
“Payment was made through remita platform. I finalized the payment and money was paid into the account of the sixth defendant”.
Attempts to tender payment vouchers and other vital documents were stalled due to an objection raised by counsel to the 5th defendant, J.O Uzo.
Justice Okeke adjourned the case to June 18 for ruling on the a