Abdulrashid Bawa, Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has responded to the court’s decision to remand him to the Kuje Correctional Center for contempt of court.
Bawa had previously been convicted of contempt of court by an Abuja high court sitting in Maitama.
The court ordered the EFCC, led by Bawa, to return to a defendant, a former Director of Operations at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Rufus Adeniyi Ojuawo, his Range Rover, and N40 million.
Ojuowo had been arraigned by the EFCC at a high court in Nyanya in 2016 on a two-count charge.
His crimes included receiving N40 million and a supercharged Range Rover Sport from Hima Aboubakar of Societe D’Equipment Internationaux Nigeria Limited. In a suit filed by his lawyer, R.N. Ojabo, Ojuawo claimed that the EFCC refused to comply with the court’s order for the release of his seized property, which was delivered on November 21, 2018.
Justice Chizoba Oji ruled on October 28, 2022, that “the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is in contempt of this honourable court’s orders made on November 21st, 2018 directing the EFCC in Abuja to return to the applicant his Range Rover (supercharged) and the sum of N40, 000,000.00 (forty million naira).”
However, the commission did not follow the court’s order. Bawa was committed to the Kuje Correctional Center as a result of his willful disobedience to the court’s order.
The EFCC’s boss was at a briefing with the House Anti-Corruption Committee to defend the agency’s budget. Reacting to the judgement after the meeting, Bawa told journalists that an appeal had been filed and that the law would take its natural course.
“Well, we’ve appealed it, so we’ll let the natural course of law take its course,” he said.
He also stated that the EFCC has requested more funding for its academy and the agency’s operations, both of which he claims are in need of funds.
He expressed confidence that the 9th National Assembly, which he described as “purposeful,” would respond positively to the request for additional funding. He stated that the anti-graft agency has made numerous recoveries and is working in accordance with the laws governing forfeiture, disposal, and remittance of proceeds of crime.