Hunter Now Hunted As Court Orders Remand Of EFCC’s Boss At Kuje Prison

By NewsBits

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Maitama Abuja presided over by Justice Chizoba Oji of has ordered the remand of the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, at the Kuje Prison Abuja following the disobedience of an earlier order of the court directed at the commission.

Delivering a ruling in an application brought by Air Vice Marshall (AVM) Rufus Ojuawo, Justice Oji held that the “Chairman Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is in contempt of the orders of this court made on November 21, 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)”.

In the ruling delivered on October 28, 2022, the court stated that the EFCC’s boss “should be committed to prison at Kuje for his disobedience and continued disobedience of the said order of court made on November 21, 2018, until he purges himself of the contempt”.

A Certified True Copy (CTC) of the judgment dated November 3, 2022, noted that the Inspector General of Police (IG) has been directed to “ensure that the order of this honourable court is executed forthwith”.

Ojuawo, a one-time Director of Operations at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), had in a motion on notice marked: FCT/HC/M/52/2021, complained that the anti-graft agency was yet to comply with the November 21, 2018, judgment which had ordered the commission to release his seized property. The judgment was in relation to the suit marked: FCT/HC/CR/184/2016.

Ojuawo was in 2016 arraigned on a two-count charge before Justice Muawiyah Idris of the High Court of the FCT in Nyanya, Abuja. The EFCC had accused him of corruptly receiving gratification to the tune of N40 million and a Range Rover Sport (Supercharged) valued at N29,250,000 from one Hima Aboubakar of Societe D’Equipment Internationaux Nigeria Limited.

However, Justice Idris in his judgment delivered on November 21, 2018, discharged and acquitted the defendant on the grounds that the prosecution failed to prove its case. According to Idris, 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.

The judge 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.

He 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-count 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 the defendant his N40,000,000 wrongly paid into ONSA recovery account and to return to the defendant his Range Rover Sport (Supercharged) forthwith,” Justice Idris said.

However, following the refusal to comply with the judgment, Ojuawo, in the motion on notice filed by his lawyer, R.N. Ojabo, urged the court to commit the Chairman or Acting Chairman of the EFCC to prison for disobeying the order of the court made in 2018 in respect of the seized properties.

Although the EFCC through its lawyer, Francis Jirbo, had filed a counter affidavit in opposition to the request for committal to prison, its submission was rejected by the court and the judge subsequently granted the request for the arrest and imprisonment of the EFCC’s boss for contempt of court.

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