President Muhammadu Buhari has mandated the presidential panel probing the allegations against the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayo Oke, to suspend all government officials linked to both cases.
A top Presidency source told our correspondent yesterday that Buhari on Friday authorised the three-man investigation panel, headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, to, before the conclusion of its assignment, suspend all government officials involved.
The panel, comprising the National Security Adviser Babagana Monguno and the Attorney-General of the Federation Abubakar Malami, is probing the allegations of violations of law and due process made against the suspended SGF in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North-East.
The committee, which swung into action on Wednesday, is also investigating the discovery of $43.4 million by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in a residential apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos.
The National Intelligence Agency had made a claim to the recovered fund.
The panel, constituted on Wednesday, was given a 14-day deadline to submit its report to President Buhari.
The source said: “The president has authorised the panel to suspend all government officials linked to the two cases. He has asked the panel to do this even before the conclusion of its assignment.
“The president has been informed of the involvement of other government officials in the two issues being investigated. More officials have been linked to these cases and Mr President has given the panel the mandate to suspend more people.”
Another source hinted that president also instructed the committee to do a thorough job.
He said though President Buhari had confidence in the panel’s members, he wanted them “to leave no stone unturned.”
The suspended SGF and the NIA Director-General on Wednesday appeared before the investigation panel hours after the Presidency announced their suspension.
The acting chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, on Friday tendered bulky “evidential” documents regarding the recovered fund.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, said in a statement yesterday that the panel “will conduct its work with utmost diligence and without fear or favour.”
According to him, the panel, in the discharge of its work, is expected to invite all relevant officials and private individuals who may be connected to both cases.
Osinbajo’s spokesman said the panel would also obtain and scrutinize documents that “may throw some light on the issues raised in both cases.”
Akande further stated that all proceedings of the panel “will however be in closed sessions to avoid speculations, allow for full disclosure and enhance the pace of proceedings.”