FG hurriedly promotes Bawa to qualify him for EFCC top job as lawyer, anti-corruption group challenge nomination

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EFCC Chairman-nominee, Abdulrasheed Bawa

 ABUJA – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has promoted its Chairman-nominee, Abdulrasheed Ahmed Bawa, and 88 others.

They were promoted from Grade Level 13 Principal Detective Superintendent (PDS) to grade level 14 Deputy Chief Detective Superintendent (DCDS) Grade Level 14, effective from January 1, 2021, PRNigeria has gathered.

By this promotion, Bawa is qualified for appointment as the Commission’s chairman.

The ‘swift’ promotion offered the anti-graft agency’s nominated boss, and other EFCC operatives is coming less than two weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari nominated Bawa to replace Ibrahim Magu, the former acting Chairman.

An internal memo sighted by PRNigeria and signed by one Femi Peter Gbarufu, which was issued Friday, and titled, “Release of Promotion List”, disclosed that promotion letters would be issued to the affected staff, as soon as possible by the Human Resources Unit.

A source in the EFCC told PRNigeria that with the promotion, Bawa’s new Rank is equivalent to the position of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), a qualification for the position of Chairman in the agency.

“Bawa was recruited into EFCC in 2005 as one of the pioneer cadets and has spent 16 years as an operative. By virtue of his new rank, he is equivalent to Assistant Commissioner of Police and qualified to be a Chairman of EFCC.
“The EFCC Establishment Act, especially Section 2a (ii) stated that a candidate for appointment as the Chairman of the agency should be a serving or retired member of any security or law enforcement agency not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police or equivalent.”

“The DCDS in EFCC is equivalent ACP in Police. For instance, the operative cadre entry-level in the police is Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) equivalent to Assistant Detective of Superintendent (ADS); Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) is equivalent to Deputy Detective Superintendent (DDS); Superintendent of Police (SP) is equivalent to Senior Detective Superintendent (SDS); Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) is equivalent to Principal Detective Superintendent (PDS) while Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) is equivalent to Deputy Chief Detective Superintendent (DCDS).

“There are other senior officers in EFCC are not detective operatives but with routine civil service ranks for administrative purposes. The Detective operatives currently in the service of EFCC are either course mates or junior to the Bawa who has just been promoted to qualifying level for the position of the Chairman,” the officer concluded.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that a lawyer, Osuagwu Ugochukwu, has filed a suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja seeking to stop the Senate confirmation of the chairman-designate.

The court document marked FHC/ABJ/CS/196/2021 was received at the of the Senate President Thursday, according to an acknowledgement copy obtained by our correspondent on Friday.

It was learnt that the leadership of the Senate, the Presidency and the of the Attorney General of the Federation were holding talks as to how to address the issue in order to avoid a repeat of the last screening exercise where the then nominee, Ibrahim Magu, was rejected twice by the Senate.

Bawa is also believed to be a kinsman of the AGF, Abubakar Malami (SAN). Malami played a major role in the removal of Magu and reportedly recommended Bawa’s appointment to the President Muhammadu Buhari.

In the originating summons filed by Ugochukwu, it was argued that Section 2 of the EFCC Act states that the EFCC shall have a chairman shall be the chief executive and accounting officer of the commission; be a serving or retired member of any government security or law enforcement agency “not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police or equivalent; and possess not less than 15 years cognate experience.”

Ugochukwu asked the court to determine whether a Level 13 officer is the equivalent of an ACP.

The plaintiff subsequently sought two reliefs, including “a declaration that the 2nd defendant (Bawa), is a Grade Level 13 public service officer and not an Assistant Commissioner of Police or its equivalent is not qualified to be the chairman of the EFCC” and “an order of perpetual injunction restraining the first defendant (Senate) from confirming the appointment of the second defendant (Bawa) as chairman of the EFCC.”

Meanwhile, the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership has written a letter to the Senate asking the upper legislative chamber not to confirm Bawa as the EFCC chairman.

This is according to a letter titled ‘Don’t Confirm Abdulrasheed Bawa’s Appointment as EFCC Chair until He Clears His Name of Corruption Allegation; Appeal to the Nigerian Senate,’ which was signed by the Executive Director of CACOL, Debo Adeniran.

CACOL said Bawa was alleged to have diverted 224 forfeited trucks while he was the Port Harcourt zonal head of the commission and is also rumoured to be a cousin of the AGF.

The group further argued that Bawa is not up to the level of an ACP and is thus not qualified to be chairman of the EFCC.

“The EFCC law is an Act of the National Assembly, hence the Senate must not overrule itself by breaching a critical provision in the appointment of EFCC Chairman.

“It is against this background that CACOL is appealing to the Senate to please take the pains to dig deep into Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa’s record of overall performance, as well as that of corruption allegations levelled against him.

“Howbeit, if the rumour making waves in some quarters, which has also been confirmed by some sections of the media, is anything to go by, we would say Nigerians’ hope for a corruption-free society has been dashed with the nomination of Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa as the chairman of the EFCC,” the letter read.

Bawa, who was accused of diverting recovered assets, was, however, absolved of any wrongdoing by the EFCC in a statement signed by its spokesman, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, Tuesday.