The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has initiated a process to set aside the entire contempt proceedings and committal of Abdulrasheed Bawa, its chairman, for contempt, an official said.
This follows an Abuja High Court ruling that convicted Bawa for contempt of court on Tuesday.
Wilson Uwujaren, the spokesperson of the EFCC, explained in a late-night statement on Tuesday that “despite the discomfort of this ruling which is seemingly promoted by misinformation, the commission remains committed to working closely with the judiciary in furtherance of the fight against economic and financial crimes in Nigeria.”
Justice Chizoba Oji of the FCT High Court ruled that Bawa was in contempt of the order of the court made on November 21, 2018, directing the commission to return to an applicant his Range Rover (super charge) and the sum of N40 million.
She also ordered that he should be committed to prison at Kuje Correctional Centre Abuja for his disobedience and continued disobedience of the said order until he purges himself of the contempt.
Uwujaren said the ruling was surprising as it has created a wrong impression of the person of the EFCC chairman as encouraging impunity.
“As far as the relationship between the EFCC and the judiciary is concerned, The Executive Chairman, Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa has been an apostle of the rule of law, due process, and close collaboration between the two institutions in justice administration,” he said.
“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 the court.”
“Abdulrasheed Bawa, in his capacity as Executive Chairman of the EFCC since March 5, 2022, did not disregard any court order. For the benefit of the public, the said order of the FCT High Court was given on November 21, 2018, three years before Abdulrasheed became EFCC Chairman. This fact is germane as the contempt process is quasi-criminal in nature and must be served on the person involved. In this case, 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.”