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Court frees EFCC chairman from going to jail over contempt

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Court frees EFCC chairman from going to jail over contempt

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An earlier order by a federal capital territory (FCT) high court in Abuja jailing Abdulrasheed Bawa, chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), for contempt has been set aside.

Chizoba Oji, the presiding judge, had ordered the inspector-general of police (IGP) to ensure that the EFCC boss is sent to prison for failure to comply with its initial order.

The judge gave the order in the motion on notice filed by Adeniyi Ojuawo, air vice marshal (now retired), against the federal government.

The judge held that Bawa is in contempt of the order of the court after the commission failed to return a Range Rover and the sum of N40 million to Ojuawo.

However, reacting to the court verdict in a statement on Tuesday, the commission explained that it had released the Range Rover to the applicant on June 27 and was in the process of releasing the N40 million.

Consequently, it filed an application dated November 10.

In the application, Bawa cited relevant sections of the Nigerian constitution and procedural laws of the court, praying the judge to quash his conviction.

Ruling on the application, the judge said she was satisfied that the EFCC chairman did not disregard the court’s orders, asking him to release seized assets belonging to the retired air vice marshal.

The judge held that the evidence before her showed Bawa had complied with the court’s order directing the EFCC to return the vehicle and money to Ojuawo.

“I hereby set aside the entire contempt proceedings in Suit No. FCT/HC/CR/184/2016 between the federal republic of Nigeria v AVM Rufus Adeniyi Ojuawo,” she ruled

“That I further set aside the conviction of the applicant, the Executive Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, for contempt unconditionally.”

This article was updated 2 months ago

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