The FCT High Court’s Justice Chizoba Oji has mandated that Abdulrasheed Bawa, the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, be imprisoned for contempt.
The judge further instructed Usman Baba, the Inspector General of Police, to see that the committal order was carried out. Mr. Oji issued the order on October 28. A certified true copy (CTC) of the order was provided to journalists in Abuja.
Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Rufus Adeniyi Ojuawo had filed a motion in the case with the number FCT/HC/CR/184/2016 against the federal government, marked FCT/HC/M/52/2021.
Mr. Ojuawo requested through his attorney, R.N. Ojabo, that the chairman be imprisoned because the EFCC disobeyed and continued to disobey the court’s order from November 21, 2018.
Following consideration of the motion on notice, the supporting affidavit, the counter-affidavit submitted by the respondent, and the arguments made by Francis Jirbo, counsel for the EFCC, the court decided as follows:
“It is hereby ordered as follows that the chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is in contempt of the orders of this honourable court made on November 21, 2018, directing the EFCC to return to the applicant his Range Rover (Super Charge) SUV and the sum of N40,000,000.00 (Forty Million Naira).
“That having continued to wilfully in disobedience to the order of this court, that he be committed to prison at Kuje Correctional Centre for his disobedience, and continued disobedience if the said order of court made on November 21, 2018, until he purges himself of the contempt.
“That the Inspector-General of Police shall ensure that the order of this honourable court is executed forthwith.”
On November 21, 2018, Justice Muawiyah Baba Idris, sitting in Nyanya, Abuja, discharged and acquitted Mr. Ojuawo, a former Chief of Expo for the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).
He was charged with two counts of gratification-related offenses in the EFCC’s FCT/HC/CV/184/2016 lawsuit against him.
The former NAF director of operations was charged with obtaining illicit benefits from Societe D’Equipment International Aux Nigeria Limited employee Hima Aboubakar totaling N40 million and a Range Rover Sport (Supercharged). His defense was not guilty.
The Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000s section 17(a) and section 17(c) both apply to this offense, according to the anti-graft agency.
It was disastrous, according to Justice Idris, that the EFCC failed to call Ms. Aboubakar, whom he regarded as a crucial and material witness for its case.
Furthermore, he said that Ms. Aboubakar, the alleged recipient of the N40 million gratification, was not charged by the prosecution.
He concluded that the prosecution’s refusal to call Ms. Aboubakar rendered the two-count indictment against Mr. Ojuawo unproven.
The judge released and cleared the defendant, ordering that the N40 million and the Range Rover be paid and delivered back to him right away.