The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) counsel in the ongoing trial of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, in an FCT High Court on Tuesday, expressed frustration over attitude of witnesses from the Office of the SGF.
Mr Lawal is facing trial alongside six others in an alleged N544.1 million grass-cutting scandal.
He was arraigned alongside, his brother, Hamidu Lawal, who is a director of Rholavision Engineering Limited.
Also, an employee of the company, Sulaiman Abubakar and the Managing Director of Josmon Technologies Limited, Apeh John Monday, are being prosecuted by EFCC.
They are charged on a 10-count charge bordering on conspiracy and fraud.
The six defendants all pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them.
The EFCC counsel, Ofem Uket, made this known after leading Aminu Muhammed, a Principal Procurement Officer in the OSGF, in evidence.
The witness testified as the fourth prosecution witness (PW4) in the case.
He said 80 per cent of the witnesses called by the anti-corruption commission so far were from the OSGF, adding that he knew what he was facing from them.
“Over 80 per cent of the witnesses I bring to court, are all coming from OSGF,” Mr Uket stated.
He told the court that the case was adjourned until February 19 at the instance of the witness.
“I called him last week, he said he was in his village. I called him yesterday in the presence of the IPO and he said he was in Bauchi.
“The IPO told him that he (IPO) had a tracker which showed that he (witness) was in Abuja.
” It was then he admitted that he was in Abuja. I only saw him today,” Mr Uket told the court.
The judge, Jude Okeke, however, stated that the court had nothing to say to the complaints raised by the prosecutor because he (prosecutor) knows what to do in that instance.
Mr Okeke adjourned the matter until April 8.
Earlier, the witness told the court that he was a member of the Evaluation Committee of the Presidential Initiative on North-East (PINE).
According to him, after evaluating the bids submitted by companies bidding for projects by PINE, including Rholavision Engineering Limited and Josmon Technologies Limited, his committee sent reports to the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and the Ministerial Tender Board in the OSGF.
He stated that the technical reports sent by his committee was for approval by the Ministerial Tender Board (MTB), adding that where any irregularities occurred the reports would be sent back to PINE for correction.
“They checked the report and approve or send it back to PINE, when the report is approved, the company gets the contracts,” he stated.
The contracts, the witness said, were awarded by PINE.
Members of the MTB, according to the PW4, were permanent secretaries or their representatives, Directors of Legal, Finance, Procurement, Internal Audit and Press in the OSGF.
Muhammed stated that he was the person who signed the letters of award of contracts to both Rholavision Engineering Limited and Josmon Technologies Limited.
He added that it was not the MTB in the OSGF that allowed him or the PINE secretary to issue letters of award of contract.
The PW4 further stated that about 108 companies including the fifth and sixth defendants, bided for different projects from PINE.
However, while being cross-examined by counsel for the defendants, including Akin Olujimi, SAN, and Solomon Ameh SAN, counsel for Mr Babachir and Mr Hamidu respectively, the witness stated that nine of the defendants played any roles in the procurement processes conducted by PINE.
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