News & Politics

Buhari nominates Abdulrasheed Bawa who was once arrested for looting 244 fuel tankers as EFCC Boss

President Muhammadu Buhari has nominated 40-year-old Abdulrasheed Bawa to the Senate as substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

This was disclosed in a statement released on Tuesday by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.

In a letter to the President of the Senate, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, the President said he was acting in accordance with Paragraph 2(3) of Part1, CAP E1 of EFCC Act 2004.

The statement added that Bawa is “a trained EFCC investigator with vast experience in the investigation and prosecution of Advance Fee Fraud cases, official corruption, bank fraud, money laundering, and other economic crimes.”

However, an article published in the online publication, the Gazzette detailed how Mr. Bawa was investigated and arrested for selling at least 244 petrol-bearing trucks worth between N20-30 million each to his proxies at N100,000, or slightly more, per unit.

The September 2020 article claims Mr Bawa committed the offense while he was in charge of the Port-Harcourt zonal office in 2019.

The publication also claimed 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 the conclusion of an investigation.

Investigations into Mr Bawa’s alleged corruption were yet to be concluded when he was tapped to lead the EFCC’s field office in Lagos with effect from August 8, 2020.

Further investigations by the Gazette revealed that Mr. Bawa’s handling of the trucks had deprived the Nigerian state of at least N4.88 billion in potential loot recovery.

“If you take a conservative approach and multiply the trucks by N20 million each, even though some were far above that price, you will arrive at N4.88 billion for the 244 trucks he sold out,” a senior EFCC official said. “So Bawa is being compensated for ensuring that nearly N5 billion did not go into the public treasury.”

EFCC’s overhead for 2019 was N3.6 billion, which was also enough to cover its staff strength of 4,962, officials said.

Procedurally, recovered cash and assets are returned to the public coffers upon the conclusion of forfeiture proceedings in court. While some of the 244 trucks have been declared as proceeds of corruption by the Federal High Court, the Gazette learned that forfeiture proceedings on most of them have yet to be concluded before Mr. Bawa sold them off.

Abdulrasheed Bawa is said to have undergone several specialized trainings in different parts of the world and was one of the pioneer EFCC Cadet Officers in 2005.

Bawa holds a B.Sc degree in Economics, and Masters in International Affairs and Diplomacy.

The acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu was suspended in July 2020 amidst allegations of gross misconduct.

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