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Court Set Aside Contempt Proceedings Against EFCC Boss, Bawa

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, sitting at Maitama, Abuja, has vacated the contempt proceeding that led to the conviction and committal of the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, in prison.

In a ruling delivered by Justice Chizoba Orji, the court set aside the order, following an application brought by the EFCC boss.

Bawa filed the application dated November 11, pursuant to Section 6(6) (a) and Section 36(1) of the 199, Constitution, as amended, as well as Section 91 of the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act, Cap S6 Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004.

Justice Orji said that the EFCC Chairman did not disregard its orders as alleged.

It held that affidavit evidence before it, proved that the EFCC Chairman had complied with its directive that a Range Rover Sport (Super Charge) vehicle valued at N40million, which the anti-graft agency seized from a former Director of Operations at the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, Air Vice Marshal, AVM, Rufus Adeniyi Ojuawo, be returned to him.

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Justice Orji held that by several internal memoranda that was made available to the court, the Applicant (Bawa), had also initiated the Commission’s internal mechanism to ensure the payment of the sum of N40, 000,000 that was also seized from Ojuawo.

Consequently, it voided the contempt case against the EFCC boss.

It will be recalled that Justice Orji had in a ruling she delivered since November 21, 2018, ordered the Commission to return the exotic vehicle to AVM Ojuawo, who was facing trial.

The former NAF Director of Operations was in 2016, docked before trial Justice Muawiyah Baba Idris of the High Court of the FCT at Nyanya for allegedly receiving N40m and a Range Rover Sport, from one Hima Aboubakar of Societe D’Equipment Internationaux Nigeria Limited.

He was arraigned on a two-count criminal charge.

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Following a separate proceeding the defendant initiated against the Commission, the high court, in 2018, ordered that the seized vehicle should be returned to him.

However, four years after the order was made, counsel to the defendant, Mr. R.N. Ojabo, drew attention of the court to the fact that EFCC had yet to comply with it.

Irked by the development, Justice Orji, ordered the arrest and remand of the EFCC Chairman over his wilful disobedience to an extant order of the court.

“The Chairman of the 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).

 

Wahab Akinlade

Akinlade I. WAHAB is a dedicated journalist and the proprietor of I-WAHAB Media. He embarked on his career at Murhi International TV (MiTV) and subsequently joined Radio Nigeria as a Judicial Correspondent.With a profound interest in legal reporting, he currently holds the positions of Chairman at the National Association of Judicial Correspondents (NAJUC), Ikeja Branch, and Chairman at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Radio Nigeria Chapel.As the owner of I-WAHAB Media, he has successfully established Top Court News, a platform renowned for providing comprehensive coverage of court cases and legal developments, with the aim of promoting transparency within the judicial system.Akinlade's diligent work and unwavering commitment to ethical reporting have earned him immense respect within the Nigerian journalism community.

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