EFCC defends new boss Bawa over alleged corruption record

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says its new Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa has no corruption record as claimed in some media reports.

The commission stated this in a statement Tuesday after the Presidency announced his appointment.

Shortly after the presidential announcement, reports began to circulate about how Bawa was allegedly involved in theft and mismanagement of recovered loot from oil thieves while heading the Port Harcourt zonal office of EFCC.

Peoples Gazette reported in September 2020 how Bawa was appointed to lead the prestigious Lagos zonal office of EFCC “despite a slate of unsettled corruption allegations”.

“Mr. Bawa was in-charge of the Port-Harcourt zonal office last year (2019) when dozens of petrol-bearing trucks that were confiscated from suspected looters were abruptly auctioned off to his proxies at ‘ridiculous prices’,” the online newspaper reported, quoting an unnamed source.

Three of his junior colleagues were said to have petitioned the leadership of the commission over Bawa’s alleged role in the diversion of 224 forfeited trucks.

“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 further read.

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However, the EFCC denied Bawa had any corruption record.

In a statement signed by its spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC said the reports on Bawa’s involvement in diversion of forfeited trucks were not true.

“The commission wishes to state categorically that Mr. Bawa was never arrested or detained over sale of any assets.

“As zonal head of the Port Harcourt office of the commission in 2019, Bawa’s responsibilities did not include the sale of assets as the commission has a full-fledged Directorate of Assets Forfeiture and Recovery Management, which remit such matters.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the disposal of finally forfeited trucks in the Port Harcourt zonal office through public auction was conducted after the exit of Bawa as zonal head. It is therefore illogical for him to have been indicted over an auction that was not superintended by him.

“The auction of trucks at the Port Harcourt Office was among the issues examined by the Justice Ayo Salami Panel, leading to the suspension of some officers of the commission. The commission, therefore, enjoins the public to disregard the false publication which is believed to be sponsored by mischief makers to impugn the integrity of the EFCC chairman-designate.”

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