Abdulrasheed Bawa, the chairman-designate of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), said he has never sold a single asset recovered by the commission.
He said this during his screening exercise which was underway at the Senate at the time of this report.
The nominee was responding to questions from lawmakers when he made the comment.
This comes on the heels of allegations that Mr 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.
Although the EFCC had refuted the claim in a statement, Mr Bawa had to answer questions about it on Wednesday.
He said as head of the Port Harcourt zonal office, he did not have the power to sell any asset recovered under his watch. Such power, he said, was bestowed on the office of the secretary to the commission which was handled by the head office at the time.
“I never sold a single truck at the Port Harcourt office, the head office handled that at the time. When I took over Port Harcourt, they had 34 convictions but when I got there we recorded 216 convictions.
“Anybody that is familiar with the processes of the EFCC knows that the chairman doesn’t have the power to sell an asset but the secretary of the agency.
“If I had a skeleton, he would not have nominated me for this position,” the nominee told the senators.
Relationship with Magu
Mr Bawa also said he has a very good relationship with his predecessors. Even the embattled ex-chairman, Ibrahim Magu, he said, congratulated him when he was nominated.
Mr Magu, as EFCC chairman, had appointed Mr Bawa to head the commission’s zonal offices in Ibadan and Port Harcourt. Both men are believed to have fallen out after the Port Harcourt posting leading to Mr Bawa’s redeployment to the EFCC Academy in Abuja. That was the position Mr Bawa held until Mr Magu was controversially removed as EFCC chairman. After Mr Magu’s suspension from office, Mr Bawa was transferred to head the Lagos zonal office of the commission from where he was appointed the chairman-designate.
Tasks If Confirmed
Mr Bawa said if confirmed, he would work towards strengthening the anti-graft agency and establishing a synergy between the EFCC and other sister security and anti-graft agencies.
When asked how he will respond to pressure from influential individuals on any particular case, the nominee said he will discharge his duties without fear or favour.
He also said the anti-graft agency does not engage in media trials but has a responsibility to educate citizens on its activities.
“We have a responsibility to enlighten the public on our activities,” he said.
“Matters that are in court are already in the public domain. It is not in our control to determine which matter could be published or not.”
“Before we reposition, we need to know what the institution stands for. We would work on our standard operational procedure to improve on those procedures. We are looking forward to an EFCC that when I give an instruction to a junior officer he will refuse it because it contravenes the law.”
The screening was underway at the time of this report and was being done in plenary with the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, presiding over the screening.
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 Part 1, CAP E1 of EFCC Act 2004.
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