…Refutes Allegation of Sale of Seized Assets …Plans to Lead by Example …Promises to Digitalise Process of Assets Recovery Newly confirmed Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, says he will discharge his duties as the nation’s anti-corruption Czar “without fear or favour”. As a stickler for time, he also promised to
…Refutes Allegation of Sale of Seized Assets
…Plans to Lead by Example
…Promises to Digitalise Process of Assets Recovery
Newly confirmed Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, says he will discharge his duties as the nation’s anti-corruption Czar “without fear or favour”. As a stickler for time, he also promised to lead by example while assuring that the process of recoveries of assets will be digitalised to make it more transparent.
“I assure you I am going to discharge my duties without fear or favour. Conscious of the fact that I am a human being and after this life I will die and after my death there will be judgement and sentence,” he told the Nigerian Senate in Abuja on Wednesday while being grilled for the job, adding that, “I hope God willing, we are going to digitalize the process on everything that we do going forward.”
On the value he would bring to the Commission, Bawa, 40 posits, “What I can do differently is leading by example. I have never been in office a minute after 8:00am except something happens. I will try as much as possible to ensure that I am leading the path.”
The new EFCC helmsman says he will reposition and strengthen the Directorate of Internal Affairs to police the officers of EFCC. “And we will reposition it so that the Directorate will be proactive rather than reactive. So the self-cleansing is going to commence regarding the repositioning of that department,” he asserts.
Bawa maintains that, “The EFCC is not only serving the public, it also serves the private sector and recoveries are made both for public, private and individuals in the private sector. The Lagos Zonal Office recovered over N10.9 billion last year. Anytime EFCC chairman do mention about recoveries he made, he mentions about everything that covers both public and private sector. I hope God willing, we are going to digitalize the process on everything that we do going forward.
“On issues of asset disposal, God willing, will be carried out on case by case basis. As we are concluding a case in court and sequel to court’s judgement, we will go on discharging that asset and I think that will solve most of our problems.
“If we have proper funding, I can tell you that law enforcement will be different in this country. A single case may cost you maybe N20 million. What I believe is proper funding can change the face of law enforcement in this country.
“I assure you that the confidence that Mr. President has on me and my colleagues will be repaid with diligent work for the betterment of this country.”
Refuting the allegation of selling recovered assets while serving as Port Harcourt Zonal Officer of the Commission, Bawa explained that the EFCC secretary was the only person authorised to dispose off recovered assets.
According to him, the assets in question were sold by EFCC secretary and three directors, who travelled from the headquarters to Port Harcourt to carry out the exercise.
He also dismissed claim that he was arrested by former acting EFCC Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu for undisclosed reasons, saying he had good working relationship with him.
Bawa said that he was eminently qualified to be appointed as EFCC Chairman based on his training, years of service and the extant laws.
He revealed that the Commission recorded 216 convictions on cases prosecuted in court during his stay as Port Harcourt Zonal Officer and said the EFCC also secured convictions for over 90 per cent of all cases prosecuted in court, arguing that there was need to equip the EFCC Academy in line with modern day realities of fighting financial crimes.
“The issue of political witch-hunt has been against the EFCC since its inception. When it comes to the issues of trial in court, at the end of every investigation, files are sent to the Legal Department to see whether or not the investigation warrants going to court. As I said, we are not perfect. I do state here that we have 90 per cent success rate on matters that we have charged to court
“On the issue of media trial we have a responsibility as a commission to enlighten the public about our activities as a commission. Matters that are in court are already in the public domain. The press have right to demand for those records and print them. So it is not within our control to determine which matter that is in court can be published or not.
“When my appointment was announced last week Tuesday, an elderly man advised me and he said, ‘Mallam Bawa, you are now 40 years old. Even if you succeed and serve two terms you are still going to be 48 years old’ and he said I have a very long future ahead of me. I am a human being but I assure you I am going to discharge my duties without fear or favour. Conscious of the fact that I am a human being and after this life I will die and after my death there will be judgement and sentence,” the new EFCC chairman disclosed.
Mr Bawa was asked to take a bow and go after he dazzled the Senate with his credentials and provided answers to pertinent questions required for his confirmation.
Recall President Muhammadu Buhari suspended Ibrahim Magu as Commission’s acting chairman to allow for unhindered inquiry by a presidential investigation panel under the tribunals of inquiry act and other relevant laws.
He then approved the EFCC Director of Operations, Mohammed Umar to take charge and oversee the activities of the Commission pending the conclusion of the investigation and further directives in that regard.
However, while Nigerians await the outcome of the investigation, Buhari nominated Mr Bawa as substantive chairman of the EFCC in accordance with Paragraph 2(3) of Part1, CAP E1 of the EFCC Act 2004.
Upon Bawa’s arrival at the Senate for screening, the Senate resolved into the Committee of the Whole to consider the Executive Communication of Buhari for the confirmation of Bawa.
Bawa introduced himself and read his biodata to the Senate, claiming to have been trained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National Crime Agency of the United States and the United Kingdom respectively.
He went further to say that he is going to deliver, in order to give opportunities to other young people so that more young people can be given more responsibilities.
He also stressed the need to repatriate all stolen assets back to the country for the benefit and betterment of all Nigerians.
“I hold a B.Sc and M.Sc from Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto State. I am a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist.
“I have also been trained by the FBI and the National Crime Agency of the United States and United Kingdom respectively.
“I joined the EFCC in 2014, and was trained in the Act Of Law Enforcement And Financial Crimes Investigation. I happen to be the only EFCC officer that has headed three different zones.
“By the end of my tenure, I will leave the EFCC a better place. The EFCC is apparently the only cosmopolitan Agency in Nigeria, looking at the composition of the board of the Commission.
“To our strategic partners around the world, I intend to work with them closely by sharing information in order to attain our mutual and independent objective.
“We need to repatriate all our stolen assets for the benefit and betterment of all Nigerians.
“I am going to give the young people a very good representation in the governance of this country so that more young people will be given more responsibility in this country.
“It is a dream of every patriotic Nigerian to see Nigeria growing to a greater height and I hope and pray that if confirmed, I will live to contribute my quota in seeing that this country is taken to a greater height,” Bawa told the Senate.
Bawa was grilled by 19 Senators with 14 others yet to speak before Senate President Ahmad Lawan asked the Senate if the new EFCC chair should take a bow and leave.
The Senators chorused yes, and Bawa took a bow and left the floor of the Senate. The Senate then reverted to plenary and confirmed Bawa as the substantive EFCC chairman.
Following the confirmation, Bawa becomes the youngest person to ever hold the office of the EFCC chair at the age of 40.