The Kogi State High Court in Lokoja has sentenced the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, to imprisonment for contempt of court. The court ordered the Inspector General of Police to detain Bawa in Kuje Prison, Abuja, for the next 14 days. The judge, Rukayat Ayoola, stated that Bawa must serve the prison sentence until he clears himself of the contempt charge.
The contempt charge against Bawa stems from an application filed by Ali Bello, accusing him of ignoring a court order by proceeding to arraign Bello on December 15, 2022, despite a court order made on December 12, 2022. In the December 12, 2022 ruling, the court declared Bello’s arrest and detention by the EFCC and its chairman as unlawful and unconstitutional.
The Kogi State High Court has ruled that the arrest and detention of Ali Bello by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and its chair, Abdulrasheed Bawa, was unconstitutional and a violation of Bello’s right to personal liberty and dignity, guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution and African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
The court ordered a public apology to be published in a national newspaper and awarded Bello N10 million in compensation. Despite a court order to produce Bello in court, Bawa failed to do so, leading to the contempt order. The court rejected the EFCC’s applications to set aside or stay the ruling, stating that they lacked merit.
The Kogi State High Court declared the arrest and detention of Ali Bello by the EFCC and its chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, as unconstitutional and in violation of Bello’s rights to personal liberty and human dignity as protected by the Nigerian Constitution and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The court ordered the EFCC to publish a public apology in a national newspaper and awarded Bello N10 million in compensation. Bawa’s failure to produce Bello in court led to a contempt order against him. The court rejected the EFCC’s efforts to challenge or delay the ruling, finding them to be without merit.
This is the second time within four months that Abdulrasheed Bawa, the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has been ordered to serve a prison sentence for contempt of court. In October 2022, the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja found Bawa guilty and ordered his imprisonment at Kuje prison in Abuja. The judge, Chizoba Oji, convicted Bawa in response to an application from retired Air Vice Marshal Rufus Ojuawo, who accused the EFCC and its leadership of violating a court order from November 2018 to return his seized Range Rover and N40 million. However, in November 2022, the same court nullified its committal order after Bawa’s application to reverse it, stating that he had complied with the court’s order to release the seized assets.
Source: Premium Times