An Abuja High Court sitting at Maitama has ordered that chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, be remanded in prison custody, following alleged disobedience to a valid court order.
The court, in a ruling delivered by Justice Chizoba Oji, found the EFCC boss guilty of contempt of court, after it was disclosed that he declined to return 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, AVM, Rufus Adeniyi Ojuawo.
Justice Orji had in an order she made 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.
Following a separate proceeding the defendant initiated against the commission, the high court, in 2018, ordered that the seized vehicle 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 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).
“Having continued wilfully in disobedience to the order of this court, he should be committed to Kuje Prisons for his disobedience, and continued disobedience of the said order of court made on November 21, 2018, until he purges himself of the contempt,” Justice Orji held.
Reacting, the Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFFC, Abdurasheed Bawa, said he had appealed the contempt rulings on him, adding that the judgement should be allowed to take its natural cause.
“Well, we have appealed against it, so we allow the natural course of law to take it’s effect,” he said.