Grass Cutting Scandal: Absence of Judge Stalls Trial of Former SGF

The trial of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir Lawal, before Justice Jude Okeke of the FCT High Court, Maitama, Abuja, could not hold on Wednesday due to the absence of the trial Judge.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in March 2019, re-arraigned the former SGF on a 10-count amended charge bordering on criminal conspiracy, breach of trust and diversion of funds to the tune of over N500m.

Lawal was re-arraigned alongside his younger brother, Hamidu David Lawal, Suleiman Abubakar, Apeh John Monday and two companies, Rholavision Engineering Ltd and Josmon Technologies Ltd for the alleged offences.

One of the counts read: “That you Engineer Babachir David Lawal while being the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and a director of Rholavision Engineering Ltd on or about the 22nd August, 2016 at Abuja in the Abuja Judicial Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory did knowingly hold indirect private interest in the contract awarded to Josmon Technological Ltd but executed by Rholavision Engineering Ltd for the removal of invasive plant species and simplified irrigation to the tune of N258,132,735.99(Two Hundred and Fifty Eight Million, One Hundred and Thirty Two Thousand, Seven Hundred and Thirty Five Naira only) by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) through the Presidential Initiative for North East (PINE) and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 12 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000”

At the resumed hearing Wednesday, the court registrar informed counsel of the Judge’s absence as he was said to be indisposed.

After consultation, counsel to parties agreed to return for continuation of trial on November 5, 2019.

The court had earlier adjourned to October 16, 2019, on admissibility of some documents presented by the second prosecution witness, which the defence had objected to.

Author: NewsAdmin

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