The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, has been sentenced to Kuje Prison over contempt of court.
In a ruling delivered by Justice Chizoba Oji of the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja on October 28, and sighted by newsmen on Tuesday, the EFCC boss was convicted of contempt of court in relation to the failure of the anti-graft agency to comply with a November 21, 2018 court order directing it to return a Range Rover and the sum of N40 million to the applicant in a suit.
The ruling, which was delivered on October 28, 2022, was on a motion on notice marked: FCT/HC/M/52/2021 filed by a one-time Director of Operations at the Nigerian Air Force, Air Vice Marshal Rufus Ojuawo.
Ojuawo had filed a motion through his lawyer, R.N. Ojabo, in a suit marked: FCT/HC/CR/184/2016 that the EFCC had refused to comply with the court order directing it to release his seized property.
The EFCC had arraigned Ojuawo on two counts before Justice Muawiyah Idris of the High Court of the FCT in Nyanya in 2016 for corruptly receiving gratification to the tune of 40 million naira and a Range Rover Sport (Supercharged) from one Hima Abubakar of Societe D’Equipment Internationaux Nigeria Limited.
However, in a November 21, 2018 ruling, Justice Idris discharged and acquitted Ojuawo because the prosecution failed to prove its case.
Idris had held that 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 any other person.
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.
The court had also held that the anti-graft agency should return Ojuawo’s seized properties to him.