Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrashid Bawa, has said the commission has appealed the judgment sending him to prison over contempt of court.
Recall that an Abuja High Court sitting in Maitama had convicted Bawa for contempt of court.
The court said the EFCC refused 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 as directed.
The EFCC had arraigned Ojuawo on a two-count charge before Justice Muawiyah Baba Idris of the High Court of the FCT in Nyanya in 2016.
He was accused of receiving N40 million and a Range Rover Sport (Supercharged) from one Hima Aboubakar of Societe D’Equipment Internationaux Nigeria Limited.
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.
In the October 28, 2022 ruling, Justice Chizoba Oji 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 (Supercharged) and the sum of N40, 000,000.00 (Forty Million Naira).”
Again, the commission ignored the order of the court.
In reaction, the Judge ordered that Bawa should be committed to prison at the Kuje Correctional Centre for deliberately disobeying the order of the court.
Reacting to the judgment in a chat with journalists, Bawa said an appeal had been filed.
The anti-graft boss, who appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Anti-Corruption to defend his agency’s budget, on Tuesday, said the law would take its natural course.
“Well, we have appealed against it, so we will allow the natural course of law to take its effect.”
He also said the EFCC requested more funding for its Academy and the agency’s operations which he said requires money.
He said, “We are building a brand new EFCC Academy and we need funding for that. Last year N3 billion was allocated and this year nothing was allocated for it, and that is why we are pleading to members that we need to have this new EFCC Academy because of course we have to learn, as fighters of crime we have to be ahead of these criminals and the only way you can do that is by training and re-training and re-training and re-training again. It can never end.”