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EFCC appeals court order that sent chairman’s to prison

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 EFCC appeals court order that sent chairman s to prison
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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said it has appealed the court verdict which ordered the arrest of its Chairman Abdulrasheed Bawa for contempt of court.
Recall that High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Maitama had convicted Bawa for his agency’s failure to comply with an earlier order of the court.
Bawa announced this when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Anti-Corruption to defend the 2023 budget proposal for the commission yesterday in Abuja.
The EFCC boss, who addressed reporters during the budget defence, said the commission would ensure that the law take its full course.
In a ruling, Justice Chizoba Oji held that “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 (Supercharged) and the sum of N40,000,000.00”.
He added: “Having continued willfully 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 21, 2018, until he purges himself of the contempt.
“The Inspector General of Police (IGP) shall ensure that the order of this honourable court is executed forthwith.”
Justice Orji rejected the arguments put forward by the lawyer to the EFCC, Francis Jirbo, to justify his client’s action.
The ruling, delivered on October 28, a certified true copy (CTC) of which The Nation sighted yesterday in Abuja, was on a motion on notice filed by Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Rufus Adeniyi Ojuawo, a one-time Director of Operations at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).
Ojuawo had, in the motion filed by his lawyer, R. N. Ojabo, complained that the EFCC declined to comply with the order for the release of his seized property made by the court in a judgment delivered on November 21, 2018.
The EFCC had arraigned Ojuawo on a two-count charge before Justice Muawiyah Baba Idris of the High Court of the FCT in Nyanya in 2016.
He was accused of corruptly receiving gratification to the tune of N40 million and a Range Rover Sport (Supercharged) valued at N29.250 million from Hima Aboubakar of Societe D’Equipment Internationaux Nigeria Limited.
But, in a judgment on November 21, 2018, Justice Idris discharged and acquitted Ojuawo on the grounds that the prosecution failed to prove its case.
The judge held that for the charge to succeed, the prosecution must prove that the defendant corruptly accepted the gift; that he accepted or obtained the gift for himself or for any other person.
He added that the prosecution also ought to prove that the defendant accepted the gift in the course of, or for discharging his official duty, and that the gift was an inducement or reward.
Justice Idris also held that the burden was on the prosecution to prove all ingredients of the charge preferred against the defendant beyond reasonable doubt, as required under Section 131(1) of the Evidence Act, 2011.
“In conclusion, I hold that the prosecution has failed to prove the two counts charge of corrupt gratification under S17 (1)(a) and (c) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
“The defendant is discharged and acquitted on counts one and two of the charge.
“Consequently, the complainant (EFCC) is ordered to refund to the defendant his N40,000,000 wrongly paid into ONSA Recovery Account and to return to the defendant his Range Rover Sport (Supercharged) forthwith,” the judge said.
The Nation

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