The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday arraigned the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Bachir Lawal, before a Federal High court in Abuja over his use of a company he allegedly owns to remove what he had described as “invasive plant species” at the cost of over N544 million.
The federal government pressed charges against Lawal over the alleged fraud late in January 2019.
President Muhammad Buhari had suspended Lawal over the allegation in October 2017 after months of public outcry by Nigerians.
At his arraignment, the EFCC pressed a 10-count charge against the former SGF and three others bordering on alleged conspiracy and fraudulent acquisition of property. They pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Bail granted: Justice Jude Okeke of an FCT High Court in Maitama, on Wednesday, granted a N50 million bail each to the defendants and a surety in like sum. He said the prosecution could not provide any proof to make the court not to grant bail. He insisted that the surety must be resident in Abuja and must provide residential address to the court. The judge ordered that the surety must own a landed property with the land documents submitted to the court.
Okeke also ordered the defendants to deposit their international passports and traveling documents to the Registrar of the court.
The former SGF was arraigned alongside Hamidu Lawal, a director in his company, Sulaiman Abubakar, staff in the company and Apeh Monday. Also joined were two companies, Rholavision Engineering Limited and Josmon Technologies Limited.