The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has said that it has initiated a process to set aside the entire contempt proceedings and committal of its Executive Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, for contempt.
This was made known Tuesday, in a statement by the Commission’s spokesperson, Mr Wilson Uwujaren.
TheFact Daily reports that Justice Chizoba Oji of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Maitama, Abuja, had, in a ruling delivered on 28 October 2022, ordered the remand of the Chairman of the anti-graft Commission at the Kuje Correctional Center, Abuja, for disobeying an earlier order of the court directed at the
According to the ruling delivered in an application brought by one Rufus Ojuawo, Justice Oji held that the “Chairman Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is in contempt of the orders of this Court made on November 21, 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)”.
The EFCC in its statement viewed the ruling as “surprising” because “it creates a wrong impression of the person of the Executive Chairman of the EFCC as encouraging impunity”.
The Commission averred that its chairman “has been an apostle of rule of law, due process, and close collaboration between it and the judiciary in justice administration, stating further that as an investigator, and the only Chief Executive of a law enforcement agency who regularly goes to court, the Executive Chairman will not tolerate impunity or disregard any lawful orders of court.
The EFCC maintained that the said order of the FCT High Court was given on November 21, 2018, three years before Bawa became its Chairman, and being that the contempt process is quasi criminal in nature, it must be served on the person involved. In this case, the Conmission said, Bawa as incumbent chairman of the EFCC, was neither served form 48 nor form 49.
“Despite this fact, the Executive Chairman, upon being aware of the said order of November 21st 2018 had released the Range Rover in question to the Applicant on the 27th of June, 2022 and had approved the process of the release of the remaining N40m”.
The Commission pointed out the procedural lapse in the contempt proceedings, on which it premised its decision to begin a process to set it aside.
While it registered its discomfort with the “ruling which is seemingly promoted by misinformation”, the Commission reiterated its commitment to working closely with the judiciary in furtherance of the fight against economic and financial crimes in Nigeria.