The Senate has commenced the screening of the newly appointed chairman-designate of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrahseed Bawa.
The screening exercise commenced a few minutes past noon and is currently being done in plenary with the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, presiding over the exercise.
Mr Bawa arrived at the Red Chamber at 11:56 a.m. for the exercise which will have lawmakers ask him questions ranging from his past experiences to his plans for the new position he has been appointed for. He was accompanied by the Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters, Babajide Omoworare, and some of his ‘family members.’
The screening comes one week after President Muhammadu Buhari conveyed a letter to the Senate seeking Mr Bawa’s confirmation as the EFCC boss.
The president, in the letter, communicated his decision to appoint the 40-year-old. The appointment, he said, is in accordance with Paragraph 2(3) of Part1, CAP E1 of EFCC Act 2004.
The president’s media aide, Femi Adesina, who made the first announcement on February 16, said the nominee is a trained EFCC investigator with vast experience in the investigation and prosecution of Advance Fee Fraud cases, official corruption, bank fraud, money laundering, and other economic crimes.
“He has undergone several specialised training in different parts of the world, and was one of the pioneer EFCC Cadet Officers in 2005. He holds a B.Sc degree in Economics, and Masters in International Affairs and Diplomacy.”
If confirmed, Mr Bawa will be the youngest ever EFCC chairman and take over from Mohammed Umar who has been in an acting capacity since June 2020.
Mr Umar assumed the position after the embattled former EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu was suspended. He was arrested dramatically in July 2020 in front of the EFCC Wuse II office, driven to the Presidential Villa and was also detained for more than four days on the directive of the panel.
His arrest and detention was based on allegations levelled against him by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
He was thereafter suspended in July after five years as acting EFCC chairperson.
A Judicial Commission of Enquiry under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act (Cap T21, LFN, 2004), was set up to investigate the activities of the EFCC under Mr Magu, from May 2015 to May 2020. Although the report has been presented to the president, it has yet to be released to the public.
Senate Confirmation not automatic
Although Mr Bawa is expected to be confirmed by the Senate, the lawmakers can also choose to reject his nomination.
Mr Magu was the last EFCC chairman-nominee to be screened by the Senate. He was screened twice by the Bukola Saraki-led Senate and his nomination was rejected on both occasions on the grounds that he lacked the integrity to lead the country’s anti-graft agency.
This was due to two contradicting reports submitted by the SSS – one supporting his confirmation and another, rejecting it. He, however, went on to serve as acting chairman for five years.