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General News of Thursday, 18 February 2021

Source: The Guardian

EFCC defends Bawa over alleged corruption, NYCN backs nomination

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has refuted claims that it detained President Muhammadu Buhari’s nominee for chairmanship of the commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, over alleged corruption.

A statement by EFCC’s spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, described reports of Bawa’s alleged corruption as false and illogical.

Buhari had on Tuesday nominated Bawa, who currently heads the Lagos Zonal office of the commission for Senate’s confirmation as substantive chairman of the anti-graft agency.

The Guardian recalled that the diversion of 224 forfeited trucks was one of the allegations leveled against Magu, which was brought up before the Salami-led panel.
Bawa was also said to have appeared before the panel over the issue, but said he was not involved in the auction of the assets, as a different department supervised the process.

“EFCC’s attention has been drawn to a report alleging that Bawa was arrested and detained by the agency under former Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, over illegal sale of 244 forfeited trucks to proxies in Port Harcourt.
“The report claimed that the illegal sale was uncovered by the suspended Secretary of the commission, Ola Olukoyede, who alerted Magu, leading to Bawa’s detention and redeployment to the EFCC Academy, Abuja.

“The commission wishes to state that Bawa was never arrested or detained over the sale of any assets. As Zonal Head of the Port Harcourt Office in 2019, Bawa’s responsibilities did not include the sale of assets as the EFCC has a Directorate of Assets Forfeiture and Recovery Management, which remit such matters reside,” the statement reads.

It explained that the disposal of forfeited trucks in the Port Harcourt Zonal Office through public auction, was conducted after Bawa’s exit as Zonal Head, adding: “It is, therefore, illogical for him to have been indicted over an auction that he did not supervise.”
Meanwhile, the National Youth Council of Nigeria has supported Bawa’s nomination as Chairman of EFCC.

President of NYCN, Comrade Solomon Adodo, described Bawa’s appointment as the biggest masterstroke of the President Buhari’s administration in the fight against corruption, looting, misapplication of public funds, financial crimes and the quest to enthrone transparency.

The group promised to mobilise its members to the National Assembly in the next seven days in support of Bawa’s confirmation as head of the commission.

“Bawa’s nomination is another great win for the Nigerian youth and has gone a great deal in unifying them irrespective of religious or regional inclinations, the key word is competence and a confirmation that the youth should be prepared for leadership at all times,” he added.

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