A federal high court which sat on Thursday in Maitama, Abuja, adjourned the trial of former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal and five others linked to the IDP grass cutting scandal, to September 18.
The former SGF alongside his younger brother, Hamidu David Lawal, Suleiman Abubakar and Apeh John Monday, two companies; Rholavision Engineering (fifth defendant) and Josmon Technologies (sixth defendant) was arraigned on a 10-count charge, bordering on fraud, diversion of funds and criminal conspiracy to the tune of over N500million. At the resumed trial on Thursday, July 4, 2019, the first prosecution witness Hamza Adamu Buwai, a civil servant with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, who was the Head of Finance, Presidential Initiative for North East (PINE) under the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) concluded his testimony.
He also revealed that there was yet another grass cutting project which started in 2016, covering 250km, which involved irrigation on motorised boat in Yobe State, along the river. According to Buwai, the grass cutting contract of N258 million was awarded to Josmon Technologies (the sixth defendant), with Rholavision (the fifth defendant) as the consultant. He said N225m was initially paid, while the balance came at the completion of the project. “When the documents of procurement came to me for request for payment to the contractors for the sum of N225million through the Permanent Secretary, Special Service Office in the office of the SGF, the approval was given and payment was made to Josmon Technologies and on completion of the project, a final evaluation certificate was given by Rholavision the consultant for payment in favour of Josmon Technologies.” Justice Okeke however adjourned the matter to September 18 and September 24, 2019 for continuation of trial.