Again, court commits EFCC boss to prison for contempt, orders IGP to execute order
Justice R.O. Ayoola of the Kogi High Court on Monday committed chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, to prison for alleged contempt.
The judge, who awarded N10 million against EFCC, ordered the Inspector-General of Police (IG) to arrest Mr Bawa forthwith wherever he is and send him to the Kuje Correctional Centre for two weeks without any delay until he purges himself of the contempt.
The judge gave the order while delivering her judgement on an application brought before her by one Ali Bello through his counsel, S. A. Abass, who prayed the court to commit the EFCC boss for disobeying a court ordered earlier granted by her (Ayoola).
Mrs Ayoola had, on December 12, 2022, delivered a ruling in favour of Mr Bello, who had dragged EFCC to court for arresting and detaining him illegally.
But three days after his freedom, as ordered by the court, the EFCC went ahead and rearrested and re-arraigned him for alleged money laundering.
To justify its action, the anti-agency had filed a fresh application for setting aside and stay of execution of the ruling earlier issued by the court for lack of merit.
Consequently, Justice Ayoola, in Form 49, Order IX, Rule 13, marked: “HCL/697M/2022” and titled: “Notice to Show Cause Why Order of Committal Should not be Made,” on the EFCC boss for disobeying her order.
The judge ordered Mr Bawa to appear before him on January 18 to explain why he should not be jailed for flouting the December 2022 order in a case filed by Mr Bello against EFCC and Mr Bawa, as the first and second respondents, respectively.
Mrs Ayoola ordered that the EFCC and Mr Bawa be served the motion of notice together with Form 49 by substituted means.
“Your arrest and detention of the applicant (Bello) in the face of a subsisting Court order made by this honourable Court of competent jurisdiction and without a warrant of arrest “or being informed of the offence for which he was arrested.
“Your action is unlawful, unconstitutional and in contravention of the personal liberty and dignity of the human person guaranteed under Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended),” the judge declared.
She also ordered the respondents in the matter to tender an apology to Mr Bello in a national newspaper and awarded N10 million compensation for him.
Justice Chizoba Oji of the FCT High Court on October 28 ordered Mr Bawa to be committed to Kuje correctional facility for wilful disobedience after the commission failed to obey a prior judgement issued on November 21, 2018, regarding Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Rufus Adeniyi Ojuawo, former NAF director of operations.
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