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New EFCC Boss Allegedly Arrested, Probe For Theft By Magu

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday nominated Abdulrasheed Bawa as substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) despite not being publicly cleared of several corruption allegations made against him by the Commission he now seek to head.

The President’s nomination was contained in a letter to the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, requesting the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly to screen and confirm Bawa for the position.

A statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said President Buhari was acting in accordance with Paragraph 2(3) of Part1, CAP E1 of EFCC Act 2004.

Read Also: Landlords Urge Buhari To Call AMCON To Order Over Alleged Harassment

But in September 25, 2020, an online publication https://peoples-gazette.com had in an exclusive report alleged that
Bawa was being probe of his “untidy involvement in depletion of confiscated assets.

The online news medium reported that while Bawa was in-charge of the Port-Harcourt zonal office of the EFCC in 2019, dozens of petrol-bearing trucks that were confiscated from suspected looters were allegedly abruptly auctioned off to his proxies at “ridiculous prices.”

“Three of his junior colleagues who were alarmed by the sheer mismanagement of priced public assets and other suspicious acts of Mr. Bawa’s took immediate steps to curb his excesses by filing anonymous complaints to the headquarters in Abuja, the Gazette understands.

“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 months-long investigation into Mr Bawa’s alleged corruption and a jarring crackdown on Mr Magu and other ex-senior officials of the EFCC were yet to be concluded when he was tapped for the top job in Lagos, a development that underscores how arbitrary power, unmoored to a transparent standard, can propel individual careers in a frightening miscarriage of justice.

“The government said Magu and others were arrested and flushed out to save the EFCC from institutional damage,” an official said. “But how can you secure people’s confidence if you only trade one crooked officer for another?”

“Five anti-graft officials who spoke with the Gazette for this story wished to remain anonymous, citing their active engagement status and a lack of clearance to speak to journalists on a matter that was still under investigation. The Gazette agreed not to identify them in accordance with its policy on anonymous sources.


‘Loot re-looted’

“Mr. Bawa was accused of selling at least 244 trucks worth between N20-30 million each to his proxies at N100,000, or slightly more, per unit.

“A proxy sold one of the tankers to a businessman in Ibadan for N14.8 million, officials said, lamenting that the businessman has been evading invitation and the agency is reluctant to declare him wanted in order not to draw public attention to the investigation.

“Officials said Mr. Bawa’s handling of the trucks had deprived the Nigerian people 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 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 learnt that forfeiture proceedings on most of them have yet to be concluded before Mr. Bawa sold them off.

Read the full report here: https://peoples-gazette.com/exclusive-top-efcc-official-arrested-for-theft-now-head-of-lagos-zonal-office/

16th April 2024
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