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23.02.2021 Article

EFCC: A can of worms ?

By Oscar Ugoh
EFCC: A can of worms ?
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A COUPLE of weeks ago the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, submitted the name of his 40-year-old relation, Abdulrasheed Bawa, to President Muhammadu Buhari for appointment as substantive Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). This the Attorney General did in total disregard to the extant law required for such appointment.

By so doing the chief law officer of the land has succeeded in misleading the President to violate the very same laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria he swore to protect by appointing Bawa to head the anti-graft agency.

According to the EFCC Establishment Act, Section 2a (ii), the person to be appointed Chairman should amongst other things: “Be a serving or retired member of any security or law enforcement agency not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police or equivalent”

Such equivalence in the EFCC is Grade Level 15.

Abdulrasheed Bawa based on the foregoing is far from qualify for the EFCC Chairman-designate despite his irregular promotion from GL 13 to 14 overnight. It is noteworthy that the EFCC Law is an Act of National Assembly.

The Senate in this wise must, therefore, not overrule itself by breaching a critical provision in the appointment of EFCC Chairman. Never again should there be an indefinite acting EFCC Chairman. The lawmakers should this time stand the truth on its feet and disabuse the impression of a rubber-stamp position during the screening of Abdulrasheed Bawa and leave a legacy of its independence.

An analyst on African Independent Television, (AIT) said, “The Attorney General has goofed big time and violated the law thereby misleading the President to send an unqualified nominee to the Senate for confirmation.

Last year _Newsdirect_ published a mind blowing report when the EFCC office asked Abdulrasheed Bawa to lead its field office in Lagos with effect from August 8, 2020. According to the report, published on September 25, 2020, the EFCC management had confirmed this same controversial senior detective to a prestigious appointment despite ponderous of unsettled corruption allegations against his person.

If appointed, the report expressed potential damage the agency could suffer, if it continues to reward individuals with questionable conduct within its ranks. It remarked that Bawa had an active probe of his alleged theft of confiscated proceeds of ill-gotten loot at his previous appointment in Port-Harcourt.

In citing Peoples Gazette as source, the report said that, “Mr. Bawa was in-charge of the Port-Harcourt zonal office in 2020 when dozens of petrol-bearing trucks that were confiscated from suspected looters were abruptly auctioned off to his proxies at “ridiculous prices”.

“Three of his junior colleagues who were alarmed by the sheer mismanagement of priced public assets and other suspicious acts of Mr. Bawa’s took immediate steps to curb his excesses by filing anonymous complaints to the headquarters in Abuja.

The Gazette continued that, “He was subsequently arrested and detained for several days in Port-Harcourt before Ibrahim Magu, erstwhile head of the agency, ordered his transfer to the agency’s training school in Abuja pending conclusion of investigation.”

The report added that the months-long investigation into Bawa’s alleged corruption, marred by a crackdown on Magu himself and other ex-senior officials of the EFCC were yet to be concluded when he was tipped for the top job in Lagos.

The report continued that: “Mr. Bawa was accused of selling at least 244 trucks worth between N20-30 million each to his proxies at N100,000, or slightly more, per unit.

“A proxy later sold one of the tankers to a businessman in Ibadan for N14.8 million, officials said, lamenting that the businessman has been evading invitation and the agency is reluctant to declare him wanted in order not to draw public attention to the investigation.”

It quoted a senior EFCC official as saying: “If you take a conservative approach and multiply the trucks by N20 million each, even though some were far above that price, you will arrive at N4.88 billion for the 244 trucks he sold out.”

“So,” he added, “Bawa is being compensated for ensuring that nearly N5 billion did not go into the public treasury.”

Ironically, it is the same Bawa that has been designated by President Buhari to head Nigeria’s foremost anti-graft agency, the EFCC

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