Panel to present final report on suspended SGF to Senate next Tuesday

The committee has vowed not to invite the SGF again, saying it would go ahead and present its final report to the senate.

Babachir Lawal

Lawal was invited for questioning by the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in the North-East.

He was asked to appear before the committee on Thursday, April 27, but failed to honour the invitation - this is the third time he would shun the committee.

Moving forward, the committee said it would not invite Lawal to defend the allegations against him again.

The panel said it would go ahead and present its final report on the probe into the contract scandal in the rehabilitation of the North-East.

It was learnt that the final report will be presented to the senate next Tuesday, May 2.

Lawal was alleged to have played a vital role in the mismanagement the funds by the Presidential Initiative on the North-East.

President Muhammadu Buhari had suspended him based on the interim report of the Senate panel which indicted him.

The panel re-invited him for the third time through a letter on Wednesday, April 26.

The embattled SGF had asked for a new date of appearance after the committee invited him the second time.

According to Punch, members of the committee were angry that Lawal did not show up the third time.

Speaking to newsmen at the meeting venue on Thursday, Chairman of the panel, Senator Shehu Sani said Lawal gave no reason for his absence.

He said the SGF  gave excuses of being busy with official assignments for his non-appearance on previous invitations.

Sani added, "We thought that now that he is on suspension, he would have enough time to be here. We sent letters to his former office and his house but the one for his house could not be delivered. The men at the gate turned back our messenger.

"Now, we are here since 10am, waiting for him, and it’s now 12 noon. It is clear to us that he is not appearing. As you can see, he is not here.

"We see this as a deliberate choice to absent himself from this committee and we believe that the general public has seen how we all tried to give the man an opportunity to defend himself publicly."

It was gathered that the Presidency had requested the Senate panel's interim report and other information available to it.

This, it was learnt, is to enable the three-man panel set up by Buhari carry out its assignment efficiently.

The presidential panel led by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, was constituted to investigate alleged contract scam.

The panel, which was formed two weeks ago, is expected to submit its report within 14 days.

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