Corruption: Buhari Didn’t Clear SGF – Presidency

SGF, Babachir Lawal

President Muhammadu Buhari has not cleared the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir David Lawal, of allegations of corruption made against him by the Senate, a top Presidency official said last night.

The source told a DailyTrust correspondent that Buhari’s letter to the Senate rejecting its recommendation to remove and prosecute the SGF is not an indication of the president’s attitude or ultimate decision on the substantive allegations against Lawal.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, clarified that Buhari, in his letter, explained why he could not accede to the request by the Senate based on the circumstances, clearly leaving open the conclusion of the matter by other means.

A committee of the Senate chaired by Senator Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna) had accused Babachir of misappropriating funds meant for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the northeast. The source stated that Buhari said he could not accede to the recommendation of the Senate on grounds of lack of fair hearing and that the resolution was signed by a minority of the Senate panel and that the panel report itself was an interim report.

According to the source, this does not mean that President Buhari is done with the investigation of the said allegations or that he has condoned such alleged corrupt actions by the SGF.

The source explained: “What this means is that the president wants to be able to handle the matter on his own terms, based purely on proper adherence to extant public service rules and procedures relating to abuse of office by public officers.

“If he is going to discipline his own appointee, he would rather do it properly, not railroaded. No one should be in doubt of the resolve of Mr. President to sustain his long-held reputation for integrity and his zero-level tolerance for corruption. But things must be done properly, and seen to be so. And that is what the president is keen on ensuring.”