Alleged N544m grass-cutting scam: SGF did not approve consultancy for Babachir Lawal’s company ― Witness

A prosecution witness on today told the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) inadvertently did not approve consultancy contract for a company a former SGF, Babachir Lawal, is said to have an interest.
The witness, Hamza Adamu Buwai, who was the Head, Finance and Account of the Presidential Initiative on North East (PINE), stated this while testifying before Justice Charles Agbaza, sitting at Jabi, Abuja, in the alleged contract fraud charge brought against the former SGF and five others by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).
Lawal is standing trial alongside his younger brother, Hamidu David Lawal, who is a director of Rholavision Engineering Limited; an employee of the company, Suleiman Abubakar; Managing Director of Josmon Technologies Limited, Apeh John Monday; the two companies: Rholavision Engineering Limited and Josmon Technologies Limited.
They were re-arraigned before the court on November 30, 2020 following the demise of the judge handling their case, Justice Jude Okeke, on August 4, 2020.
The case bothers on a 10-count bordering on fraud to the tune of N544.1million which they all pleaded not guilty.
Testifying as the second prosecution witness (PW2) on the resumption of the case today, Buwai told the court that Rholavision Engineering Limited, believed to have been owned by the former SGF was not approved for consultancy job in the second phase of the grass cutting contract awarded to Josmon Technologies Limited.
According to him, the company was not paid for the second phase contract, having not been approved for consultancy service.
The witness further told the court that consultancy contract was awarded to Rholavision in the first phase of the contract on January 14, 2016, adding that the company was paid 2.5 per cent of the total contract sum.
Buwai informed that following approval from the Permanent Secretary, Special Services in the Office of the SGF, Rholavision was paid twice at 50 percent each.
Led in his evidence in chief by the prosecuting counsel, Offem Uket, the PW2 informed that Rholavision’s total payment for each payment was N3,505,758.40 but was paid on each occasion the sum of N2,155,182.54 after deduction of five percent each of value-added tax and withholding tax.
The witness informed that Josmon Technologies Limited was awarded the grass cutting contract in March, 2016 for the first phase of the contract at N272.4 million.
He added that the first phase was paid for twice at N203.357m and N20.687m respectively, after the deduction of VAT and withholding tax.
Buwai said for the second phase of the contract, approval was given to Josmon on August 2, 2016, adding that payments of N182.951m and N49.367m were made to the contractor after deduction of VAT and withholding tax for the contract.
He said that documents included by the company for the request of payment included Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) registration certificate; PenCom certificate; Bureau of Public Procurement certificate; Industrial Training Fund (ITF) certificate, among others.
These, the witness told the court, were prequalification documents contractors and consultants would submit for prequalification requirements to every ministry, department and agency (MDA) when aspiring for contracts and consultancy.
After the witness completed his evidence in chief, Justice Agbaza adjourned the case till February 17 for cross-examination by the counsels for rye defendants.



Pollution, Deforestation: How Ignorance, Unclear Environmental Policies Influence Booming Fish Smoking Industry

Rays of the afternoon sun pelted her head as she fanned the embers beneath the half-cut iron drum with the smoke permeating the air. “This smoke is unbearable, Iya Maria,” said one of the three neighbours conversing under a makeshift shed about five meters away. Their voices rose and fell intermittently…

You might also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More