Why the Court threw out the conviction of the EFCC boss

Why Court set aside conviction of EFCC boss

Justice Chizoba Oji of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court set aside the conviction of Abdulrasheed Bawa, the Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The judge last Thursday canceled his earlier order of conviction following an application filed by Bawa before the court.

remember that he first convicted Bawa for failing to comply with a court order made on November 21 2018, ordering the EFCC to return the sum of N40 million and a Range Rover to an applicant.

Bawa’s application: The employer brought the EFCC application pursuant to Section 6(6) (a) and Section 36(1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), Section 91 of the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act, Cap S6 Law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004 and other relevant laws.

He urged the court to set aside its earlier decision since he has complied with the court’s order.

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Judge’s findings: In his judgement, Justice Chizoba held that the new evidence before him showed that Bawa was not in contempt of court, at the time he gave the order.

He found that Bawa had ordered the return of the Range Rover Sport car to the applicant, Mr Rufus Ojuawo. Therefore, he ordered as follows:

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  • “I hereby set aside the entire defamation case in Suit No. FCT/HC/CR/184/2016 between the Federal Republic of Nigeria v AVM Rufus Adeniyi Ojuawo.
  • “That I further set aside the conviction of the applicant, the Executive Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, for contempt without condition.”

The Backstory: In 2016, the EFCC arraigned Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Rufus Adeniyi Ojuawo, a one-time Director of Operations of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on a two-count charge bordering on corruption.

The EFCC accused him of illicitly receiving N40 million gratification and a Range Rover Sport (Supercharged) one Hima Aboubakar of Societe D’Equipement Internationaux Nigeria Limited.

During the investigations, the EFCC seized his properties which were allegedly received corruptly.

However, the court discharged and acquitted Mr Ojuawo of the charges brought against him by the EFCC.

On November 21, 2018, the court ruled that the prosecution failed to prove its case. Consequently, the judge discharged and acquitted Mr Ojuawo of the charges and ordered the EFCC to return his seized assets.

The judge believed that the EFCC failed to prove that Ojuawo may have corruptly accepted gifts from anyone or accepted gifts during the discharge of his official duties.

After four years of not receiving his property as ordered by the court, Mr Ojuawo approached the court again seeking an order compelling the EFCC to release it to him.

The court convicted the EFCC boss for failing to comply with a court order made in 2018.


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