The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, has been remanded in prison custody by an Abuja High Court sitting at Maitama for allegedly disobeying a legitimate court order.
The court, in a ruling delivered by Justice Chizoba Oji, found the EFCC chief guilty of contempt of court after it was revealed that he refused to return a Range Rover Sport (Super Charge) vehicle worth N40million that the anti-corruption agency had seized from a former Director of Operations at the Nigerian Air Force, AVM Rufus Adeniyi Ojuawo.
In an order dated November 21, 2018, Justice Orji instructed the Commission to return the exotic vehicle to the defendant AVM Ojuawo.
The former NAF Director of Operations was indicted in 2016 for allegedly collecting N40 million and a Range Rover Sport from Hima Aboubakar of Societe D’Equipement Internationaux Nigeria Limited.
He was arraigned on two counts of a criminal offense.
In 2018, the high court ordered that the seized vehicle be returned to the defendant as a result of a separate action he had brought against the Commission.
However, counsel for the defendant, Mr. R.N. Ojabo, brought the court’s attention to the fact that EFCC had not yet complied with the order four years after it was issued.
Infuriated by the development, Justice Orji ordered the arrest and remand of the EFCC chairman for disobeying an existing court order.
“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).
“Having continued wilfully in disobedience to the order of this court, he should be committed to prison at Kuje Correctional Centre for his disobedience, and continued disobedience of the said order of court made on November 21st, 2018, until he purges himself of the contempt”, Justice Orji held.
Wilson Uwujaren, a spokesman for the EFCC, told Newsmen on Tuesday that the agency would appeal the verdict.