- On Tuesday, November 8, the court in FCT ruled against the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
- Justice Chizoba Oji held that Abdulrasheed Bawa be sent to Kuje prison for not obeying the court's earlier order
- In a new development, the EFCC boss has disclosed he has filed an appeal against the verdict ordering his remand in Kuje
The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, has been sentenced to Kuje Prison over contempt of court.
The Federal Capital Territory High Court on Tuesday, November 8, convicted Bawa, for contempt of court in relation to his agency’s failure to comply with an earlier order of the court.
In view of the above development, Legit.ng takes a look at the possible reason which prompted the court's action and why Bawa was sent to Kuje prison by the court;
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Disobedient to a court order
The court had ordered the EFCC 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.
He was accused of receiving N40 million and a Range Rover Sport (Supercharged) from one Hima Aboubakar of Societe D’Equipment Internationaux Nigeria Limited.
However, Ojuawo, in a suit filed by his lawyer, R.N. Ojabo, complained that the EFCC declined to comply with the order for the release of his seized property made by the court in a judgment delivered on November 21, 2018.
Justice Chizoba Oji in the ruling on Tuesday specifically noted that the EFCC chairman did not obey its earlier verdict regarding the above case.
Justice Oji, in a ruling, held that
“The Chairman Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is in contempt of the orders of this honourable court made on November 21st 2018 directing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abuja to return to the applicant his Range Rover (Super charge) and the sum of N40, 000,000.00 (Forty Million Naira)."
IGP Baba should take up the order with immediate effect, court declares
Justice Oji after Tuesday's ruling on the case further directed the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba to ensure that the order of this court is executed forthwith.
“The Inspector General of Police shall ensure that the order of this honourable court is executed forthwith,” the judge said.
Bawa's argument was rejected by the court
The judge rejected the arguments put forward by the lawyer to the EFCC, Francis Jirbo to justify his client’s action.
The ruling delivered on October 28, a Certified True Copy (CTC) which was sighted by Channels Television, was on a motion on notice marked filed by Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Rufus Adeniyi Ojuawo, a one-time Director of Operations at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).
Ojuawo had, in the motion, complained that the EFCC declined to comply with the order, for the release of his seized property, made by the court in a judgment delivered on November 21, 2018.
He pleaded not guilty.
According to the anti-graft agency, the offence was contrary to section 17(a) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 17(c) of the same act.
Justice Idris held that EFCC failed to call Ms Aboubakar, who he described as a vital and material witness to its case, saying that this was fatal.
He further held that the prosecution did not file any charge against Ms Aboubakar, who allegedly gave the N40 million gratification.
He, therefore, held that for its failure to call Ms Aboubakar, the prosecution failed to prove the two-count charge against Mr Ojuawo.
While discharging and acquitting the defendant, the judge ordered the N40 million and the Range Rover vehicle to be paid and returned to him immediately.
EFCC boss reacts
Contempt: We’ve appealed the court verdict, Bawa affirmed
Reacting to the development, Abdulrasheed Bawa, disclosed he has appealed the verdict ordering his remand.
Bawa made this disclosure on Tuesday while fielding questions from journalists in Abuja.
“We have appealed against it already so we will allow the natural course of the law to take its effect,” he said.
Alleged money laundering: EFCC arraigns ex-attorney general of prominent state
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday, November 4, arraigned Olasupo Shasore, a former Attorney General and commissioner for justice in Lagos over alleged money laundering to the tune of N109.8million.
Shashore was arraigned on Friday by the commission before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
The anti-graft agency slammed the former commissioner with a 14-count criminal charge along with his personal firm, Middlesex Investment Ltd.