The immediate-past Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, and two others have been granted bail by a Federal High Court in Abuja.
The presiding judge, Justice Okeke, on Wednesday granted them bail in the sum of N50m each with one surety and fixed next trial for March 18, 2019.
The court ordered that the sureties must be residents within the jurisdiction of the court; they must possess titles to lands within the jurisdiction of the court, show evidence of payment of tax for the past three years.
The court further noted that each of the defendants is to deposit their international passport with the court pending the fulfillment of the bail conditions and are to remain in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Recall that Lawal and five others had earlier pleaded not guilty to a 10 count charge of fraudulent diversion of funds meant for the clearing of evasive plants in the North East.
Concise News reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had in October 2017 sacked Lawal following a report by a panel headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo that investigated allegations of fraud leveled against him.
The EFCC had filed a 10-count charge bordering on conspiracy and fraud against him and Hamidu David Lawal, Suleiman Abubakar and two companies, Rholavision Engineering Ltd and Josmon Technologies Ltd.
In the charge filed on January 30 by Offem Uket for the commission, Lawal was alleged to have conspired with Hamidu, a director in Rholavision and Abubakar, a staff in the same company, to fraudulently acquire a property and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 26(1)(c) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 12 of the same Act.
One of the charges accused Hamidu, Abubakar and Rholavision to have “abetted the award of contract to Rholavision Engineering Ltd for the removal of invasive plant species and simplified irrigation to the tune of N6.4million by the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) through the Presidential Initiative for North East (PINE).”
Hamidu was accused to have “abetted the holding indirectly of a private interest by Engineer Babachir Lawal in the award of a contract to Josmon Technologies Ltd for the removal of invasive plant species and simplified irrigation by OSGF through PINE to the tune of N272.5million.”
Lawal was also accused to have fraudulently acquired a private interest in a contract awarded to Josmon Technologies Ltd.